SARTA on the receiving end of brand new Buses

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Stark County, Ohio - Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) will roll out 32 new coaches over the next couple of weeks. This includes 25 paratransit buses and 7 fixed-route buses. Some of the new SARTA buses have been delivered and are currently being outfitted with fare boxes, security cameras and other equipment.

Purchased with funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the Ohio Department of Transportation, the brand new vehicles will join three bio-diesel/electric buses SARTA acquired last year. An additional 12 fixed-route buses and 2 paratransit buses are on order and will be delivered next year. Together with the 6 large buses replaced last fall, SARTA will have replaced 50 buses of the 89 in its fleet.

"Many of the buses we're using now are out-of-date and should have been retired by now. That speaks well of our Maintenance staff, but only so much can be done once a vehicle has reached the end of its service life,'' said Kirt Conrad, CEO. "Riders will see a difference immediately in a more comfortable, quiet ride and better on-time performance due to minimizing breakdowns that occur with older buses."

SARTA would like to see more people utilizing buses as a low-cost, environmentally friendly form of transportation. They hope the new buses will attract more riders. "We're going to reach out to those segments of the community that have been hesitant to ride by offering them comfort, ease and reliability. By putting a good product on the street, we hope people will see that even though they have a car, public transportation is a viable option for some of their trips,'' said Conrad.

SARTA will offer the used paratransit buses first to Stark County, non-profit (501c3) organizations such as churches, social service agencies, and community groups. The vehicles have surpassed their recommended service life with an average of 317,000 miles each, so they are no longer capable of remaining in the SARTA fleet. Despite being about seven years old, they are in good running condition when donated. Because the vehicles have been used for Proline passengers, they are equipped with wheelchair lifts and are perfect for organizations that transport senior citizens and disabled passengers.

To be considered as a recipient of a used paratransit bus, a request letter must be submitted to James Warner in care of SARTA no later than August 16, 2010. The letter must include verification of the organization's 501c3 status, an explanation of how the bus will be used to support members of the community, and a plan for continued maintenance of the vehicle.

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