Some bus riders in Albany and those on the loop route to Corvallis and back are riding in brand new coaches.
The city recently acquired two 2010 El Dorado EZ Rider II buses that cost a total of $626,271, said city spokeswoman Marilyn Smith.
And the city did not pay a cent for them. They were purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money, said Chris Bailey, the city’s airport and transit manager.
When the buses arrived, they were checked over by city mechanics, radios were installed, and logos were painted on each vehicle. One of the buses was put on one of Albany’s two local bus service routes, and the other is on the Linn-Benton Loop route.
The buses are identical except for the seats in the loop bus. “They are more comfortable because people on those buses ride for longer periods of time,” Smith said.
The buses can carry 36 passengers, or 31 with two wheelchair accessible stations.
The older buses will be kept on hand to use as alternates when needed and on the loop during increased ridership times, Bailey said.
The loop recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The cities of Albany and Corvallis, Linn and Benton counties, LBCC, Oregon State University and Hewlett-Packard help support the loop bus financially.
The bus stops at Albany Station, North Albany Park & Ride, the Hewlett-Packard campus, Avery Square, Oregon State, the Corvallis Transit Station and LBCC.
It runs from 6:25 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. The Saturday loop runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but does not stop at Oregon State. A special express bus will run weekday mornings between LBCC and Oregon State to accommodate the heavy ridership expected when fall term begins.
Total loop and Saturday ridership for fiscal year 2009-10 was 105,843 passengers, Bailey said. That was up from the previous fiscal year when 104,366 people boarded the bus.