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AC Transit Tests New MCI Commuter Bus

December 2017 brought a demonstrator bus to AC Transit for trial runs on its Transbay services. The demo unit, built by Motor Coach Industries, has two doors, solo seats, and a lower level to accommodate wheelchairs far more easily than the current MCI buses operated by AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, and Soltrans, among others. The MCI D45 CRT LE fuses the luxury of a high-floored commuter coach with the ease of boarding of a low-floored transit bus towards the center, with a total of 55 seats (3 seats on the bottom, rest on top, with up to 8 solo seats) and can easily load up to 35 standees (provided no wheelchairs are on board).
The demonstrator bus has the following features, some of which are departures from what MCI has been building through the years, including:

  • A brand new headlight configuration
  • Additional stairs towards the middle of the bus to exit the bus towards the center
  • Optional screens that will tell passengers where they are on the line (or ads holder)
  • Customizable headsign design (the demo unit is Hanover)
  • Additional seats on the lower deck
  • Seat belts on each seat
  • Overhead luggage racks
  • Overhead reading lights and air conditioning vents
  • AC and USB plugs on many seats

I was lucky to ride the demo bus twice so far, and my verdict has been as follows:

  • Narrower aisle space can slow passenger movement
  • The lower floor can be useful if one does not want to be bothered by a packed bus on the upper deck (and also quicker exit)
  • The addition of AC and USB plugs is a step forward for allowing passengers to charge their devices anytime they need it
  • An additional window towards the back makes the bus feel more spacious (especially with daylight)

​My photos are as follows:

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