Brampton Transit unveiled the first of its 20 bigger, accordian-style Züm buses this week— hybrid deisel-electric buses that will hold 40 per cent more passengers than conventional buses.
The new articulated buses are 60 feet long (conventional buses are 40 feet) and they were built by New Flyer Industries in Winnipeg. As a hybrid, the Xcelsior model boasts a 10 to 15 per cent fuel savings compared to regular diesel vehicles, they are lightweight and quiet, have unique theatre-style seating in the articulated joint, and two rear exit doors, according to the city.
Brampton West MP Kyle Seeback joined Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell for the reveal of the new buses last week.
“I am pleased that today’s unveiling of Züm’s new articulated buses brings the City of Brampton one step closer to the launch of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) service along Steeles Avenue,” Seeback said. “Our government is proud to invest in key infrastructure projects that create jobs and economic growth in our communities, while cutting commute times and improving public transit in the GTA.”
With Züm service on Steeles Avenue just a few months away, the new buses will be put to good use as Brampton Transit ridership outpaced the city’s population growth by almost three-to-one last year.
The 20 new buses are the first articulated buses in the Brampton Transit fleet and will be divided up among the three Züm routes— Queen Street, Main Street and, as of this fall, the new Steeles Avenue line.
The 60-foot articulated buses feature an accordian-style link between two vehicle platforms. Each bus has 60 seats compared to 38 in the 40-foot buses. With standing room included, the articulated buses could carry as many as 85 to 90 passengers, making them more efficient and cost-effective where demand exists.
Brampton Transit drivers are already trained to drive them.
In the next five years, Brampton Transit will add another 45 articulated buses to the Züm lines.
Counting the 20 new buses, Brampton Transit will have a total of 61 Züm buses and 205 regular transit buses for a fleet total of 266 buses.
“Our commitment to a modern, vibrant, convenient transit system has made Brampton a more attractive place to live, work and do business,” Fennell said. “Züm’s success continues to benefit our growing community. I would like to sincerely thank both the federal and provincial governments for partnering with us on this public transit priority.”
The $285-million Züm project is being delivered in two phases. In addition to the purchase of BRT vehicles, Phase I includes construction of BRT lines on Queen Street completed in September 2010, Main Street completed in September 2011, and Steeles Avenue scheduled for completion in fall 2012. Phase II of the project will expand service along Queen Street and Steeles Avenue, and will introduce service on Bovaird Drive. Completion is expected by the end of 2017.
The Government of Canada has committed up to $95 million for both phases of Brampton’s plan. The Province of Ontario has already provided its contribution of $95 million, and the City of Brampton will fund the remaining $95 million.