IndyGo is canceling their ill-advised order for an additional 13 barely functional electric buses and going diesel. Who could have predicted this?
770 KKOB New Mexico radio host Pat Frisch speaking to Tony Katz:
“We are into the third year of nothing, other than they’ve gone through Central Avenue, which is a 9-mile stretch. They’ve put in the platforms, because the busses fit the platforms, but the busses suck. They’re supposed to get 275 miles; they’re only getting 177 miles.
So what the city did here is that they told the company that builds the buses to take them back.
I want to read a quote to you from Bernie Toon, who is the transit director for the city of Albuquerque. Toon said, ‘What we found during the first week was that buses had air conditioning outages and door malfunctions. We were communicating these issues to BYD when bolts began to fall off doors, and rear doors would open during bus operation without any action by the driver. As a result, our mechanics started to look for the causes of these problems and began identifying new problems.’”
Okay, so there was that prediction. But maybe that was just isolated to New Mexico.
“We are a mere two months into the city’s sadistic experiment with rapid bus transit and there are already problems. The good news is, the buses have stopped smashing into other drivers. The bad news is, that’s partially due to the fact that the buses don’t work in the cold.
“Yes, those super high-tech, all-electric bitchin’ buses the city purchased will only function as expected if the weather cooperates, apparently. Based upon evidence gathered over the last several weeks, once the temperature outside dips 50 degrees, the buses’ State of Charge or ‘SOC’ becomes too low to complete their route, which means riders are ‘SOL.’
“Meanwhile, IndyGo has confirmed with CBS 4 Indy that the entire median running along College Avenue will have to be replaced. According to their report, spots along College are littered with pieces of the median that are either loose or completely missing.”
But hey, at least people actually utilized our buses.
“In the first month, which was free to riders, just over 123,000 people took the Red Line. In October, that dropped to about 104,000 people. The free period was only supposed to last a month, but because of delays in the new ticketing system, IndyGo had to extend the free period multiple times. However, in November, when it was still free to use the Red Line, there were only approximately 89,000 riders. In December, when riders began to pay, the number dropped sharply once again, to only 65,000 people using the Red Line.
“IndyGo had predicted to see about 11,000 people use the Red Line every day, but in December, Red Line buses averaged only around 4,000.”
Guess not. And by the way, that happened in New Mexico as well.
Unfortunately for the city of Indianapolis, IndyGo insists upon repeating ALL of New Mexico’s mistakes by plowing ahead with the purchase of 13 all-new diesel buses.
No one will ride these buses either, but at least diesel buses still work in the winter.
The IndyGo board approved on Thursday the purchase of 13 40-foot diesel buses, at a cost of $7.5 million. These buses will be implemented on Route 39, the future Purple Line, by June 2020 when the new grid system and schedules are introduced.
So electric is out and they’re opting for diesel.
But as it turns out, switching to diesel won’t be the panacea that IndyGo needs either. Why?
“BYD has yet to provide the permanent solution to ensure that the buses meet their contractual range,” IndyGo said in an emailed statement. “To maintain our proposed service improvements for June, the Gillig buses were the best option. These buses will help with local route service but won’t be used for the Purple Line because they don’t have left side doors.”
That’s right; the buses run, but the doors are on the wrong side. That’s not an easy fix either. The tooling and engineering expenses alone make it cost-prohibitive to manufacture a short run of buses for the Purple Line.
This would be a logical point in time to postpone the Purple Line until a practical solution can be identified, but IndyGo President and CEO Inez Evans has yet to make that announcement.
WIBC’s Tony Katz has more details on the latest developments with the RedLine fiasco in the clip below.
Katz Pro Tip: You might want to take a drink to steady your nerves first before listening.