Radford Transit gives RU sneak peek at new energy-efficient buses
On a cool, rainy Wednesday, Radford Transit (RT) rolled one of its two new energy-efficient buses to the clocks at Heth Hall, giving the Radford University community a firsthand look at the sleek, shiny transportation machine and, as RT Marketing Specialist Sheri Lewis said, a whiff of that "new bus smell."
In January, Radford Transit plans to put on the roads its two 35-feet-long New Flyer buses. Radford Transit representatives, standing under a dripping white tent, invited passers-by to board the bus and provide their impressions of the bus.
"It's really cool," said junior business management major Brian Spells of Vineland, N.J. Spells walked aboard and previewed the bus with Devon Drake, a sophomore business management major from Nokesville. While complimenting the New Flyer's comfortable, padded seats and on-board security cameras, both said they often rode Radford Transit to the Dedmon Center for club football games and track and field practices, respectively.
Brian Booth, Radford Transit's transportation manager said the bus was brought to campus to "let the students who will be using it see it and get their input. Being only two years old, we're still developing the system to meet the needs of the students and citizens of Radford."
Two hours into the day-long event, Booth said he had received numerous questions and positive feedback from students who use the bus system.
The two New Flyer buses include 32 seats for a maximum capacity of 70 riders, a 71 percent increase in passenger capacity compared with other Radford Transit buses, according to Josh Baker, general manager of Radford Transit.
The New Flyer also features "ultra-low emissions," and is 40 percent more fuel efficient than previous models. The bus is equipped with a hybrid cooling system, leading to improved fuel economy, Baker noted.
Booth noted the New Flyer buses have a 12-year life span and are "built stronger" than the Radford Transit buses currently on the road.
The New Flyer, Booth noted, will feature a next-stop announcement system, which uses GPS to alert riders about the upcoming stop. Once the buses are implemented into the fleet, the New Flyer will run on Route 10, Booth noted.
The six-route, 100-plus stop transit service, operated by the Community Transit Division of the New River Valley Community Services Board, connects the university community and citizens of Radford to transit systems across the New River Valley.
"The service has been so successful that administrators have worked quickly to acquire larger vehicles for passenger capacity and comfort," Baker said earlier this week. "In its second year of service, Radford Transit experienced a 76 percent increase in ridership and now carries in excess of 325,000 passengers annually, making it the third largest transit system in the region and one of the top 25 systems, by riders, in all of Virginia."
The Radford Transit is a partnership between the university and the city and serves the Radford University community, the citizens of Radford and the surrounding areas of the New River Valley.
The bus service is free to university students, faculty and staff with a valid RU identification card. The fare for the general public is $1 and free for senior citizens and children under 12.
In addition to showing off the new bus, Radford Transit representatives took entries for an RT-sponsored raffle, which is giving participants an opportunity to win prizes. First prize is an iPad Mini, and second prize is a 42-inch flat-screen television.
Entries also are being accepted online and by liking the Radford Transit Facebook page. Entries are being accepted until Nov. 1. The drawing will take place Monday, Nov. 4. Winners will be notified and names of winners will be posted on the Radford Transit website.