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Marin Transit to Receive New Transit Vehicles for FY2015-16

Marin Transit is about to embark on a multi-vehicle expansion as it has purchased more than 40 new vehicles of various sizes and functions for FY2015-16 worth $10.3 million, pending approval of the agency’s budget on its next meeting on 22 June 2015. This expansion will retire some of its older vehicles in the fleet, including at least two Ford E450s currently used for the community shuttles and a handful of older paratransit vehicles, as well as at least two older buses (possibly the TMC-RTS that were handed down from Golden Gate Transit) in service for more than a decade.
A description of the new vehicle purchases can be seen below. Source is from Marin Transit’s May 2015 Monthly Meeting Board Packet, which was used for its monthly meeting held last 18 May.
The most interesting orders would be the addition of four, brand new 30-foot Gillig BRT buses, which I suggest might be used to supplement either the community shuttle services operated under contract to Marin Airporter or expand local bus services currently served by Golden Gate Transit. The other interesting order, a 29-foot El Dorado Axess XHF, might be used to either complement the West Marin Stagecoach service (especially on Line 68 where there is fast-growing ridership) or as a supplementary bus to the existing school trips (especially on routes with lower demand). As for the 25 paratransit vehicles (16 new and 9 replacements), those will be used to strengthen Marin Access’ (also branded as Whistlestop Wheels) operations further by allowing more reliable service for seniors and the handicapped.

I am most happy to look forward riding on the brand new Gillig BRT buses as those will certainly help modernize Marin Transit’s bus operations even further. What I am a bit concerned about is whether these buses will also be operated on Golden Gate Transit’s services, especially on the Basic and Commute services, to augment the buses already operated by the latter (similar to its Orion Vs and MCIs). The “within-the-county” operations of its New Flyer XDE35 LF, New Flyer XD60 LF, and ElDorado National Axess XHF35 buses makes me appreciate the diversity of services Marin Transit has to offer, yet I believe that if these are operated on Golden Gate Transit’s services as well (not those contracted out from Marin Transit itself, like Routes 17, 22, 29, 35, 36, 45, 45K, 49, and 71), it will provide additional run time that could increase productivity with both agencies, but with higher incurring costs. It surely is a balancing act to make for both agencies.

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