Six more ART buses arrive in Albuquerque; four still to come - Albuquerque Journal

Six more ART buses arrive in Albuquerque; four still to come

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Six Albuquerque Rapid Transit buses traveling in a convoy made the nearly 800-mile drive from Lancaster, Calif., to their new home in Albuquerque this weekend, arriving late Sunday night.

Four more are still due from bus manufacturer Build Your Dreams.

The buses are 60 feet long and fully electric. Trucks pulling generators followed the convoy to charge the buses during the trip from Lancaster, Calif. (Greg Sorber/Journal)

All 20 of the electric, articulated buses had been scheduled to be received by Oct. 4 of last year, but an order backlog at the California BYD plant and other issues delayed the deliveries.

“It’s a win,” said BYD spokesman Joshua Hernandez at the city’s Daytona Bus Terminal, where the city’s 16 ART buses are parked.

Hernandez said the trip took around two-and-a-half days to complete, with the buses stopping every 210 miles to charge batteries.

One of the buses side-swiped a pole soon after leaving the plant, requiring two exterior panels to be replaced, but Hernandez said that bus was delayed only a couple of hours and was soon able to catch up with the other five.

City spokesman Rick DeReyes said the six new buses will now undergo an inspection by the city for any flaws they may have that weren’t discovered at the plant.

DeReyes said the city is still working to resolve issues identified on the other 10 buses.

Past problems identified have included leaking fuel axles, which a BYD senior vice president said last month have already been corrected, and inconsistent placement of wheelchair restraint belts onboard.

Problems with charging stations for the buses also were reported.

A third-party inspector was previously unable to certify them due to non-standard components.

The parts have been changed out and Hernandez said the 20 charging stations at the Daytona Bus Terminal will begin the certification process today.

In the meantime, the buses have been charged using large generators.

Hernandez said the company expects another bus to arrive in Albuquerque by the end of the week.

DeReyes and Hernandez offered few other details about the project’s status, such as when the rest of the buses will arrive or when the rapid transit service that will run along Central will be operational.

DeReyes said Mayor Tim Keller is planning on holding a news conference later this month to provide a status update.

On the construction end, work to address critical issues and knock out “punch list” items continues.

A problem involving the platform at Washington and Central was resolved a couple of weeks ago by repainting the roadway.

Antonio Felix of Star Paving works on the Atrisco Albuquerque Rapid Transit platform on Monday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Work on a second issue at the platform at Atrisco and Central began last week, and is expected to last three to four weeks, causing intermittent lane closures.

“Westbound traffic will have a lane closure,” ART spokeswoman Joanie Griffin said in an email. “We also may have some closures for turns going southbound and northbound as we work on the intersection.”

The roadway on the north side of the platform was constructed at a slight angle, making it difficult for wheelchair-bound riders to board buses.

There are also upcoming lane closures expected at First and Central due to construction of the Alvarado Transportation Center station.

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