Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

A new Metrobus is hitting the streets of Washington, D.C.

September 2, 2011 - 10:38 AM
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The new Metrobus is nearly 41 feet long, has 40 seats, and with standing room, should hold 69 people. 8 Photos
The new Metrobus is nearly 41 feet long, has 40 seats, and with standing room, should hold 69 people. (Photo: WMATA/Metrobus, Metro, WMATA, buses, New Flyer Xcelsior XDE40)

In May of 2011, WMATA introduced the New Flyer Xcelsior XDE40 into the Metrobus fleet as its 7000-series buses. The transit agency purchased 152 of the hybrid buses, each costing more than half a million dollars, and has been slowly introducing them throughout the summer and will continue to do so throughout the fall. So far there are 38 of the new Metrobuses in service, with 10 more expected soon after an inspection process.

"We try to replace about 100 buses a year," WMATA's social media manager Brian Anderson told me. The total Metrobus fleet amounts to roughly 1,500 buses.

A self-described transit geek, Anderson has highlighted the buses on WMATA's Metro Forward Facebook  page recently with apparent enthusiasm and offered the photos above, which show multiple exterior and interior shots of the New Flyer model on the streets of D.C. His communications efforts have continued to pay off there — the page is up to about 1,100 fans now, just about double what the page sported a week into August.

To highlight these buses — which have been gaining more attention in past weeks as more enter the Metrobus fleet — is a wise move, especially given the positive reception that's accompanied the New Flyer model. It's nearly 41-feet long, has 40 seats, and with standing room, can hold 69 passengers. Those riders enjoy cushioned seats that Anderson says contain "vandal-resistant upholstery." Vandals, take note. More sunlight comes into these new buses, given the skylight and window in the back where you'd normally see a big engine. They're a sleek model that's inspired a lot of enthusiasm from the D.C. riders who have been on them.

One rider on tumblr wrote recently, "Metro’s newest buses are great. More space, better floors, skylights, and genuinely comfortable seats." Facebook comments on the new photos also express an overwhelming sense of curiosity and excitement — "Very nice," one person writes, while another remarks, "Gotta like this kind of bus with flush windows.....hmmm talk about safety and comfort inside the bus." 

Other features of the New Flyer buses include automatic heating, air conditioning, a standard announcement system for the driver, five cameras as well as DriveCam, and a low floor. "You eliminate the step up," Anderson said.

Check out photos of the New Flyer bus for yourself in the gallery above.

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