TCAT this week placed three new Champion buses into service to support high-demand service times. Buses are numbered 1910, 1911 and 1912.
Some TCAT passengers this week have been the first to ride on new smaller buses that the transit agency launched into service this week to help ease overcrowding during peak times.
As announced earlier, TCAT purchased three 35-foot Champion buses, each with a Freightliner chassis, to support TCAT’s 54-bus fleet. The three new buses went into service Tues., Sept. 17, to address overcrowding on some of TCAT’s 34 routes during commuter rush hours. The Champion buses each seat 29.
Passengers should be aware that the new buses are not yet equipped to transfer TCAT’s real-time information to its Bus Tracker or to MyStop or other apps. That will be remedied likely by mid to late October after technicians install GPS equipment. In the meantime, riders are advised to check schedules online at https://www.tcatbus.com/schedules-tables-fall or the TCAT Early Fall Schedules & Service Guide, and to be at their bus stops on time.
“The addition of three Champion buses will aid in meeting our peak service needs,” said TCAT Assistant General Manager Mike Smith, who oversees TCAT’s operations and maintenance departments. “These buses will be limited-use buses and, in the future, can serve as backup buses for busy trips. Our ultimate goal is to use them on an as-needed basis, but currently we need them to meet service.”
The new buses are not yet equipped with fare box technology so riders will be unable to check ride or day balances on their passes. That technology will be installed within that same four- to six- week time period as with the tracking equipment. In the meantime, riders boarding the new buses should continue showing their fare media to the bus operator or they can deposit cash (exact change only) in the fare box.
In addition to the three smaller buses, TCAT recently took possession of two of the nine new 40-foot New Flyer replacement buses the agency purchased last year. Pending equipment installation and NYSDOT inspections, those buses are expected to be on the road by late October.
The second half of TCAT’s fall service goes into effect Sun., Oct. 26, and will include service adjustments planners are able to make with the bolstered fleet. To avoid missed trips due to bus shortages, TCAT continuously strives to secure funding to replace aging buses that are more prone to equipment failure and take more time and money to repair and maintain.