New Buses for People Mover Fleet
The People Mover bus fleet in Anchorage is getting its first new rolling stock since 2013, replacing some older buses that have been in service since the ‘90s.
People Mover is receiving eleven new 40-foot diesel buses manufactured by New Flyer. The new buses have an improved suspension, smoother ride, and enhanced interior finishes. The seat frames are stainless steel and are padded with a silica material to make them easier to sanitize while still offering comfort during warm and cold seasons. New Flyer’s diesel drive train includes emissions controls for a virtually smoke-free engine and potentially lower operating costs.
“To continue Anchorage’s role as a modern and first-class city, we need clean, reliable, and efficient transportation options for our citizens. Replacing our aging fleet will keep more buses on the road, instead of in the shop, leading to a better delivery of service for riders,” says Mayor Dave Bronson. “With 90 percent of the cost of these new buses covered by federal grant funds, these investments demonstrate we can move our city forward without putting all the burden on property taxpayers.”
The new additions include some other features already found on People Mover’s last batch of buses, such as anti-slip flooring, LED screens for next-stop arrival information, and heated side mirrors. They are also equipped with an improved camera system for increased security.
“We expect these buses to provide a quieter and more comfortable experience for the passengers and drivers,” says Anchorage Public Transportation Director Jamie Acton. “As we aim to be a reliable transportation option for the community, the new buses will keep us on schedule and help prevent canceled trips due to bus breakdowns associated with an aging fleet.”
Some of People Mover’s 40-foot buses are now twenty-four years old.
The eleven new 40-footers join the fleet alongside fourteen new 22-foot buses for the AnchorRIDES system. The Ford Transit 350s are the first with all-wheel drive in AnchorRIDES’ history. Other features include an auto-deploy passenger ramp with a 1,000-pound capacity to increase boarding and lighting efficiency, exterior door and ramp controls to minimize the amount of time the passenger door is open during the colder months, and a heated passenger entry to prevent snow and ice build-up at vehicle entrance. They also have a backup camera and a seven-camera surveillance system for improved security.
AnchorRIDES is a shared ride service that provides trips by advanced reservations. Eligible riders include people with disabilities that prevent them from using People Mover bus service, seniors older than age 60, and Medicaid recipients authorized for transit waivers.
People Mover is the largest public transit provider in Alaska, providing about 9,000 trips every weekday.