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MTA introduces 65-foot bus for Orange Line

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The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently introduced a 65-foot long bus that can carry up to 100 people for its Orange Line Transit-way.

The bus is the highest capacity articulated compressed-natural gas bus in operation within North America. It was designed exclusively for the Metro Orange Line by North American Bus Industries.

There’s only one new larger-capacity bus as part of the Orange Line, but it will be running along the same timetable as the other buses.

“Any time of day, it’ll be running,” said Dave Sotero, from Metro’s media relations. The only way one would know that they’re on the newer bus is if they examined the windows, Sotero said. The windows on the old buses are made of a single extended frame. The older buses had separate panes.

The newer buses also have three additional seating rows in the front of the bus.

Articulated buses debuted on the Orange Line in ’05, with 60-footers along Wilshire Boulevard and in the San Fernando Valley on Van Nuys Boulevard.

An articulated bus is one with an accordion joint in the middle, connecting two separate bus segments, accommodating a greater capacity of passengers.

Articulated buses haven’t operated in L.A. County for more that two decades. They were discontinued due to mechanical problems.

“We’re currently studying alternatives for extended service from Canoga Park to (the) Chatsworth Metrolink Station,” Sotero said of the possibility of adding more 65-foot articulated buses to the Metro fleet in San Fernando Valley. However, solution has yet to be found. Currently, there is a Caltrans requirement that prohibits any vehicle over 60 feet long from operating on streets due to a concern regarding maneuverability.

An exemption was granted to the new bus because it runs along a dedicated transit-way without any other vehicles.

California Senator Alex Padilla is working on, SB 650, which remove the Caltrans prohibition.

To add more articulated buses, dedicated transit-ways need to be built to accommodate them. This option would cost less than a light rail system.

Yaroslavsky has been with the Orange Line project since its inception, looking for more ways to further connect the San Fernando Valley.

“That would be an asset to the campus community who need to use the Antelope Valley Metrolink to (get to) the campus or for the portion of the campus community who live in Santa Clarita,” said Astrid Logan, CSUN’s Transportation Program coordinator.

The Orange Line runs from North Hollywood to Warner Center, and has a stop on Reseda Boulevard that intersects with the 240 Bus and 741 Rapid Lines, both of which circle the CSUN campus and run back down Reseda Boulevard to Universal City.

The new $2 Metro day pass fare increase is not related to the introduction of the articulated buses.

“That’s because the agency’s operating on a deficit,” Sotero said. “It was either raise the fares or go out of business.”

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