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NYC Transit Bus Technology Programs

Updates on Bus Technology Programs and the Hybrid Propulsion Bus Proposal as found in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA's) New York City Transit Committee Agenda for the Board of Directors.

Table of Contents:

October 1995 Update

from the November 1995 Agenda

Bus Manufacturer Qualification/Testing Program

Transit properties have been surveyed for their experiences with 40-foot buses and articulated buses and over-the-road express buses. The structural evaluations of the 40-foot Flexible Metro bus, the 60-foot New Flyer Articulated bus and the MCI over-the-road bus have been completed.

50 Flexible 40-foot buses have been ordered and are scheduled to be delivered in February 1996.

The structural evaluation of the New Flyer articulated bus indicated that 12 years of useful life can be achieved on bus routes such as M15, M104, Bx1 and Bx2. Negotiations have recently been completed with New Flyer for the purchase of 70 articulated buses. Anticipated delivery is 1st Quarter 1997.

NYC Transit conducted a demonstration of a New Flyer 40-foot low-floor bus during June and July 1995. We are seeking a similar demonstration of a Nova Bus 40-foot low-floor bus.

[And from the sole source procurement section of the Agenda I include this parenthetical note: The 70 buses will cost $25,993,600 with the option of purchasing 40 additional buses.

Given the fact that in excess of 85% of bus operating costs are the result of bus operator wage hours, bus vehicle miles and the number of individual vehicles required, substantial economies are achieved by converting selected high volume (short headway) bus routes to articulated bus operation. The utilization of 60-foot articulated buses as a substitute for 40-foot standard buses in a 3:4 ratio in peak periods and a 4:5 ratio on off-peak periods will reduce vehicle hours, vehicle miles and peak vehicle requirements with only minimal impact in customer service.

The first phase of the New Bus Qualification Program included a review of articulated buses manufactured by New Flyer Industries Limited, Neoplan USA Corp and American Ikarus Inc. The performance review of the Neoplan buses indicated severe corrosion and maintenance concerns. As a result of this discovery, no further investigation/evaluation was conducted. Regarding the American Ikarus Inc articulated bus, the performance review was conducted with satisfactory results. American Ikarus Inc, however, declined to participate in the program at this time. New Flyer's performance review was concluded with satisfactory results and its bus was send to the Ortech Corporation test facility for the structural analysis.

In addition to the New Bus Qualification Program, NYC Transit representatives visited New Flyer's Winnipeg, Canada and Grand Forks, North Dakota a facilities to further determine New Flyer's technical and manufacturing capabilities. Based on these evaluations New Flyer was deemed qualified and negotiations were initiated. --DC]

Compressed Natural Gas

NYC Transit began operating CNG buses on July 26 from Jackie Gleason Depot in Brooklyn. On August 17, we removed from service all 12 of our Orion CNG buses. This action was taken because the manufacturer of the CNG fuel cylinders reported a safety defect that could allow gas to escape. The repair of these cylinders reported a safety defect that could allow gas to escape. The repair of these cylinders continued through September and delayed the delivery of 19 remaining Orion CNG buses. Three RTS-model CNG buses were not affected by this action. Delivery has now been completed and there i a total of 34 CNG buses at Gleason Depot.

The CNG fuel station at Gleason Depot is operational, and a canopy was installed in September. Safety modifications inside Gleason Depot have been completed. Average fueling times are 10 to 15 minutes for the 1st and 2nd bus, increasing to over 30 minutes unless the station is allowed to recharge. Brooklyn Union has made the storage spheres operational, and is working to improve fueling times.

Electric Hybrid Bus

The Phase I Orion standard floor test bus is fully operational and underwent emissions testing at Environment Canada in Ottawa. Particulate matter (PM-10) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) were reduced by 60% and 40% respectively. Fuel economy was improved by 40% over a 6V-92 DDEC engine. Orion ins continuing to build the Phase II low-floor-prototype bus. GE has indicated that it will be operational by January 15, 1996.

The MTA has received an additional $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This money is being used to improve the design of four key components, and will continue through July 1996.

Electric Hybrid Bus Retrofit

The MTA Board in March approved the concept of a project to develop the capability to re-power existing buses with electric hybrid propulsion systems. We are continuing to discuss the details of the cooperative [sic]

Battery Powered Bus Demonstration

The MTA Board in March 1995 approved a project to demonstrate 2 battery powered buses in revenue service for two years as part of an existing federally funded project. NYC Transit signed an agreement with the New York Power Authority in August. The two buses are expected to be delivered in the 2nd Quarter 1996.

Computerized Brake Dynamometer

During the first Week of September, the BEM Muller computerized brake dynamometer was installed at the Queens Village Depot. Seventeen NYC Transit employees received Training on using the machine to test bus brakes. Preliminary findings indicate that the dynamometer test results will correlate well with traditional test results. Dynamometer based brake testing procedures are being developed and evaluated over the next 12 months.

February 1996 Update
Hybrid Propulsion Bus Proposal

from the February 1996 Agenda


Proposed Hybrid Propulsion Bus Project

There are Currently Two New Bus Technologies Progressing at NYCT to Continue Efforst to Exceed Standards

Hybrid Propulsion System Concept

Potential Benefits of Hybrid Propulsion

Compressed Natural Gas Trade-offs

While CNG buses have the lowest emissions of any bus currently in production, there are several downsides:

Advantages of Proposed Procurement Method

April 1996 Update

from the April 1996 Agenda

Bus Manufacturer Qualification/Testing Program

Structural qualification testing of the Motor Coach Industries (MCI) Over-The-Road express bus indicated that a 12 year useful life will be achieved. Procurement negotiations are underway with MCI.

Structural evaluation testing, on a shaker table, of a New Flyer low floor 40 foot bus is currently underway at ORTECH.

The first phase of structural evaluation testing of an Orion VI low floor bus has been completed and results are currently being reviewed.

Compressed Natural Gas

New York City Transit continued operating 34 CNG buses from the Jackie Gleason Depot in Brooklyn.

Orion Bus Industries began upgrading the fuel cylinder pressure relief devices (PRD's) because there was concern about leakage. We expect to be able to raise the maximum fill pressure from 2,000 to 3,000 psi, improving the range of the buses and allowing them to provide better service.

NYCT is proceeding with both the design modifications and Gleason Depot to accommodate 140 more CNG buses, and the design of the new Coliseum Depot to accommodate 150 CNG buses. URS, a consultant with which NYCT has an indefinite quantities contract, is likely to study which depots in Manhattan would be most practical to site an additional 210 CNG buses.

Electric Hybrid

The prototype Orion VI low floor electric hybrid bus by Orion and General Electric was displayed to the board, press, and public on February 27 and 28. The bus is scheduled for performance testing at a test facility by the end of June.

Electric Hybrid Retrofit

In March 1995 the board approved the concept of a project to develop the capability to re-power existing buses with electric hybrid propulsion. In December, Delco won a $900,000 grant form the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) for this project.

Battery Powered Bus Demonstration

Scope reduced to one bus for NYC Transit. ARPA and the New York Power Authority are our partners in this project.

Electric Hybrid Retrofit

from the June 1996 Agenda

This project will develop an electric hybrid propulsion system specifically for retrofitting existing RTS buses, of which NYC Transit has over 3,100, rather than for new bus manufacturing. Electric hybrid technology offers NYC Transit the ability significantly reduce bus emissions at the time of General Overhaul (6yrs) or at a life extension rehabilitation (12yrs), when the diesel engine is scheduled to be overhauled. Re-powering these buses with an electric hybrid propulsion system would significantly reduce overall fleet emissions, changing the highest emitters into the lowest.

Proposed Funding Sources:

Allison Transmission $1,546,000
U.S. Dept. of Defense, ARPA $1,150,000
New York Power Authority $440,000
MTA $675,000
Total $3,811,000

Under the terms of the proposed agreement with Allison Transmission, Delco Propulsion Systems will design, assemble and install an electric hybrid propulsion system into an RTS bus. After being assembled, the bus will undergo ten months of comprehensive testing at General Motors and Allison Transmission facilities. Twenty-four months after inception of the project, and after demonstrating that the bus meets performance specifications, it will be shipped to NYC Transit, where it will be operated and tested in revenue service for six months. Revenue testing will be supported by Delco Propulsion Systems. The project will take 30 months to complete.


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