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Winnipeg Transit’s bendy buses set to hit the pavement

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Winnipeggers, get ready for a new sight on old roadways — Winnipeg Transit is rolling out the first of its bendy buses.

Media were given a sneak peek of the pre-owned buses, which were first purchased and refurbished by New Flyer Industries from the City of Ottawa, on Friday morning.

Transit director Dave Wardrop said training runs for the first couple buses are imminent and, if all goes according to plan, should be in regular service in the coming weeks, with all buses out in 2014.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement in terms of adding to our fleet, adding capacity to the fleet, being able to respond to the increasing demand we’ve seen and we’re really pleased with the final product,” he said, adding that the bendy buses will address overcrowding on popular routes at peak times.

Coun. Brian Mayes said he’s very pleased to see the buses will be used on routes going into his ward of St. Vital.

“I’m excited, you can actually see that they don’t look like Ottawa buses, they’re now Winnipeg buses,” Mayes said, adding platforms at bendy bus stops were lengthened over the summer.

“There’ll be more space on the bus and as you come downtown, there will be fewer pass-byes, people won’t be left standing either morning rush hour or afternoon rush hour.”

Tony Dreolini, manager of plant equipment for Winnipeg Transit, said the bendy buses offer good value for the dollar when it comes to increased capacity, since they’re about 1.5 times the size of a regular 40-foot bus.

“A regular bus has got 38 seats, this one has 54. In terms of total capacity, a regular bus you can probably get about 70 or so people in it, one of these things here, you can get over a hundred,” he said.

“It’s a very economical way to get into providing this level of service, it was really a good opportunity for us.”

Asked about Winnipeg’s infamous winters, Dreolini said he doesn’t expect any difference in performance between the bendy and regular buses.

Dollars and sense

The refurbished buses each cost $53,000, producing a total price tag for the 20 buses of just over a million dollars. Had they been purchased new, each bus would have cost $625,000.

Source: Winnipeg Transit

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