Something about that new car smell gives you a sense of opportunity. And right now, many of our riders are getting that same feeling as we put dozens of new buses out on the streets. These are the Gillig 3700 series, and by the end of January, we will have 57 of these American-made machines in service.
Aside from the smoother, quieter ride that comes with advancements in technology (and that new car smell), you may not notice many differences between the 3700s and the 3600s. But if you’re a regular rider, you will eventually experience a big change: fewer rides in older buses, many of which have out-served their expected lifespan.
Do you know the average service life of a bus?
It’s 12 years, according to the Federal Transportation Administration. During that period, a TriMet bus will typically have:
- At least one new engine installed
- One transmission replacement, maybe more
- Between 750,000 and 1 million miles!
The 3700s, along with the addition of 64 more new buses next year, will help bring the average age of our fleet to seven or eight years. We’ve already started retiring and decommissioning some of our oldest workhorses, many of which provided service for 15 or more years.
While new may be nice, the 3700s represent a lot more. They are a sign of the times, and of our commitment to more and better service. In the next few years, you’re going to see a lot more from us. We’re expanding and increasing frequency on our most popular routes, improving reliability in areas plagued by congestion and providing new service to meet our community’s growing and changing needs.
We’re also working to meet the needs of operators, who spend hours and over time, days, weeks, even months behind the bus’ 18-inch steering wheel. We worked with Gillig and other partners to make the operator area safer, easier to use, more ergonomic and more comfortable. There’s a new generation driver’s seat with a gel-foam pad, built-in bellows for lumbar support and air bellows for seat height adjustment.
Today’s buses still run on biodiesel, but the technology has changed. Our newest Gilligs use clean air diesel engines with built-in systems that remove many pollutants before they reach the air. (We’re taking our commitment to clean air even further next year, when we begin testing electric buses on Line 62.)
We are working to make transit better. Hop on board one of the 3700s and enjoy the ride!