Following a six-month delay, this spring, ISU students will be able to set their eyes on a new style of transportation.
The Orange Route, which is currently the busiest bus route in the state of Iowa with 1,519,827 riders during the 2011 fiscal year, will see the addition of two new Nova articulated buses, better known as “accordion buses.”
These buses were originally supposed to be delivered to Iowa State in August 2012, prior to the start of the fall semester.
The buses are now expected to arrive at CyRide sometime in February and could make their debut — at the earliest — on the Orange Route after spring break.
According to Sheri Kyras, director of transit for CyRide, the buses were delayed for several reasons.
CyRide’s new buses are some of the first buses to feature Nova’s new interior design, and there was a delay in production because Nova had to work out some bugs with the new interior design.
The second reason for the delay had to do with new paint standards for buses. Kyras stated that there are only a few places in the United States that meet the new paint standards, therefore CyRide’s buses got stuck behind other companies during the painting process.
“We are frustrated; we would have loved to have them to begin the fall semester,” Kyras said. “On the other hand, we chose the manufacturer because of what they offer.”
The articulated buses measure 62 feet, which is currently 22 feet longer than CyRide’s largest bus. They seat 60 people but can, including standing room, hold a total of 120 people.
The buses have a stainless steel frame, which gives them an increased lifespan. They contain wider aisles for easier movement and comfort, backup cameras and three doors that allow for easier entering and exiting of passengers.
“These buses are meant to accommodate more students with the same driver, hopefully alleviating overcrowding,” said Dan Rediske, a CyRide Board of Trustees member.
Originally, CyRide intended to phase out five older buses with the purchase of the articulated buses, but CyRide decided to keep the buses in order to keep up with the growth of ridership.
The price tag for the two buses was $1,374,826 with 83 percent of the funds coming from the federal government and a grant.
The usual lifespan for buses is 12 years, but CyRide usually retires buses after 18 years of service. The new articulated buses are expected to last longer than the typical lifespan.
Kyras pointed out that CyRide has been able to obtain quite a few grants in the past four years and has been able to lower their average bus age.
These types of federal grants, however, are beginning to become less frequent as budget cuts continue, stated Rediske.
“I know the focus of CyRide is to maintain their service to their riders,” Rediske said. “They have been very resourceful and conscious about the buses they choose to purchase.”