AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - As part of the Amarillo City Transit revamp, the transit department will be purchasing additional buses.
Amarillo's city council approved the purchase of eight additional 35-foot, low floor buses from Denton County.
Amarillo City Transit (ACT) says these buses will go on its fixed routes.
“More people will be able to board more easily,” said Marita Wellage-Reiley, Transit Director of Amarillo City Transit. “They are safer buses because right now, we have side facing seats. People will have forward facing seats and be able to brace themselves if there’s a sudden stop.”
Amarillo City Transit says the new buses will be replacing older buses in its fleet.
They’ll also be keeping some of the buses, and using them as spares.
Each bus costs about $400,000.
“We have been able to accumulate federal, state, and local funding,” said Wellage-Reiley. “We will have several additional funds that we will then use to buy smaller, low floor vehicles to be able to be used on our paratransit or our fixed route service.”
The new buses will allow those who ride with a wheelchair to access the bus differently then they currently the do.
ACT hopes this will mean it will take less time for all riders to get from one place to another.
“We won’t have wheelchair lifts so people can just roll their wheelchair on and get to their wheelchair securement place,” said Wellage-Reiley. “If they need the assistance of the driver to secure them, we can help them with that. The service that we operate will be faster because we will not have to stop the bus, get out, have the driver get out and load the wheelchair up.”
By purchasing the buses through Denton County, the city says it will allow buses to roll out on Amarillo streets faster.
“It will streamline our process by about six months, it will shorten our purchasing process for new buses,” said Kevin Starbuck, Assistant City Manager for the City of Amarillo.
All of the new buses are expected to roll out next summer.
However, the city expects to have one of those buses in the near future so they can train drivers and incorporate it into some routes.