Friday, August 27, 2010

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A new breed of bus is travelling the streets of Prince George, as part of a two‐week trial to determine how well the “Vicinity” bus performs in the local environment, announced Shirley Bond, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“I’m very pleased that Prince George is one of the communities getting the opportunity to test the Vicinity bus. BC Transit is testing the bus to determine if it could be a valuable addition to the provincial transit fleet, helping to make our communities healthier and more livable,” said Bond.

BC Transit tested the Vicinity in Squamish during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and more recently in Quesnel and the Cowichan Valley for performance testing in a variety of climates and terrains.

“I encourage all people in Prince George to take a ride on the Vicinity while it’s on tour for these two weeks,” said Mayor Dan Rogers. “We’re always looking for ways to improve services for passengers and make better choices that benefit our community and environment.”

So far, test results with the Vicinity has shown substantial long‐term cost savings in fuel and maintenance as well as a longer service life compared to other buses in its class. Drivers have remarked that it is easy to drive offering great visibility and customers have noted a ‘smoother’ ride.

“The Vicinity has all the attributes of a larger conventional bus, but its compact size makes it more versatile to better serve various neighbourhoods and communities,” said Manuel Achadinha, President and CEO of BC Transit.

The Vicinity allows room for 23 passengers, and standing room for 16 more. This new bus model is 8.4 metres long, compared to standard buses which are 12 metres.

“The Vicinity is just the latest example of BC Transit’s long history of testing new and innovative ways of improving service to passengers, the community and the environment,” said Bond.

BC Transit was the first transit company in North America to introduce low‐floor (accessible) and double deck buses. It was also the first in Canada to purchase production hybrid buses, and is currently testing the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell fleet operating in a single location.

BC Transit is the first transit company in North America to test the Vicinity bus.