Federal and State Funding will Comprise 90-Percent of Total Purchase Cost; 70 New Buses will Ensure Over Half of County's Transit Bus Fleet will be Upgraded.
Suffolk County, NY - May 2, 2017 - Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that the Suffolk County Department of Public Works has purchased 30 new hybrid-electric transit buses and 40 mid-size transit buses that are scheduled to arrive by the end of June. Following the purchase of 70 new buses, which are currently in production, half of the County’s transit bus fleet will be brand new. The addition of hybrid transit buses to the Suffolk County Transit roster further promotes County Executive Bellone’s commitment to investing in a modernized transit fleet, reducing fuel costs and lessening the County’s carbon footprint.
“These critical investments will ensure that our transit fleet is cleaner, greener, and more efficient to get residents to their destination,” said County Executive Bellone. “By modernizing our fleet with hybrid buses, we will consume less fuel, produce significantly fewer emissions compared to diesel powered buses and save taxpayer dollars."
Delivery of the new transit buses are expected to begin at the end of May and will continue through June. Suffolk County plans to continue purchasing hybrid-electric transit buses as older buses become eligible for replacement. Similarly, mid-size buses will be deployed on some of the lighter used feeder routes around the system. These buses are beneficial for both the safety of our residents and the quality of our environment in Suffolk County.
“Finding ways to reduce emissions while improving our transportation system is one of the shared goals of New York Metropolitan Transportation Council members,” said José M. Rivera, Executive Director of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. “As a voting member on our Council, I applaud Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s leadership and commitment to green, sustainable practices in public transportation. His addition of hybrid buses to Suffolk County Transit, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, is yet another testament to County Executive Bellone's commitment to revolutionizing mass transit in the County.”
New fareboxes have been installed on all buses that for the first time allow customers to get change back for overpayment in the form of a paper stored-value card. The total purchase cost for the farebox equipment is approximately $2.5 million. New and existing buses are also being outfitted with an Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) system that will help the County improve reliability and develop applications to help riders determine where the buses are and when the next bus is due.
Additionally, buses will also contain Automatic Passenger Counters (APC), which will prove for closer to real-time accounting of passenger boarding and alighting so that the County can more effectively design services to reach an ever evolving ridership. Costs for the AVL systems and APCs total $8.2 million. The County envisions that these improvements will produce a better suburban transportation system.
Federal regulations allow for the replacement of public transit buses based on age or mileage criteria.
The total cost of the new transit buses, along with any related equipment, is estimated at approximately $25.6 million, which includes financial assistance from both federal and state funding. The Federal Transit Administration will cover 80% of the cost at approximately $20.5 million. The New York State Department of Transportation will provide 10% of the cost, equaling $2,560,000 while Suffolk County will cover the remaining 10% of the cost at $2,560,000.
Over the past 10 months the Suffolk County Legislature has approved the issuance of over $2 million in Suffolk County Serial Bonds to cover the County’s share of the purchase. The new buses are “Buy America” compliant and final assembly of the buses will be in the United States, as is required by the FTA.
Since 2016, Suffolk County has provided paratransit service countywide and ridership has responded increasing by almost 9% over the past year.
Suffolk County has a fixed route bus system that is composed of 43 fixed bus routes, serving 4.6 million customers and operating over 7.6 million miles annually. In addition, the County has a complementary paratransit service system that serves over 669,000 customers and operates over 8.2 million miles annually. The transit fleet is comprised of 139 transit buses and 180 paratransit vehicles covering our 912 square mile service area. By year-end 2017, the paratransit fleet will expand to nearly 200 buses.