Bigger, Bendy Buses Roll Out on Grand Route Today to Ease Crowding

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click to enlarge Meet St. Louis' newest public transit vehicle, the articulated, 60-foot bus. - Metro
Meet St. Louis' newest public transit vehicle, the articulated, 60-foot bus.

Whether you drive along Grand Boulevard or catch the No. 70 Grand Line bus, you'll notice something new on your commute this morning.

St. Louis Metro Transit debuts its new 60-foot articulated buses -- which look like two regular buses linked by a pivoting joint -- on Monday to ease overcrowding on the region's busiest bus line. The buses are twenty feet longer and accommodate 25 percent more passengers than the route's former buses. The buses also have 14 more seats and more standing room than Metro's (now) second-largest buses.

"Not only will it be more comfortable for them to ride it, it will offer extra capacity so we can actually attract more people to the system," says Metro CEO John Nations, to St. Louis Public Radio. "So a lot of people who now do not have the ability to get on it will have the ability to get on it. It's another opportunity for them to ride public transit."

The new buses mark the first time in twenty years that Metro has added a new public transit vehicle to the city's fleet. At least five are scheduled to run today, and Metro will eventually roll out fifteen buses to operate the entire line.

Each bus costs about $430,000, bringing the grand total for fifteen buses up to $6.4 million. Metro says it cut the cost for the new fleet in half buy restoring old buses with all-new insides, from the wiring to the engines, rather than buying new buses.

The ten-mile-long No. 70 Grand Line has been one of the region's busiest for decades, serving more than 9,000 boardings on an average weekday.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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