Tag | bus
A fellow employee and bus rider organize a townhall-type meeting with the head of Omaha’s bus system MAT and fellow employees as well as other bus riders. It was sorta a gripe session, but the President of MAT (Curt Simon) as well as the Director of Operations were both there. They fielded our questions and complaints and were honest about what was happening. It’s been a while but I have blogged about my frustrations with the bus service before. This was a good time to find out more.
This is my attempt of a summary of the meeting. Note that it’s an attempt — more was said that I probably didn’t get down.
- MAT is a state entity. It gets no money from the City. But the Mayor of Omaha appoints the people on the MAT Board.
- The Federal Govt will help pay for a new bus once it reaches 500k miles or is 12 years old. MAT’s average bus is 8.5 years old and has 417k miles on it. If a bus is refabricated , then it’s date gets set to when that the refabrication was completed.
- MAT’s newest bus is from 2001, but that doesn’t include the refabricated buses since then.
- Simon says that new buses are their #1 priority and they will get some probably in Q3 or Q4 of this year. The goal is 63 new buses in the next five years. They hope that Obama’s stimulus package will help them out with that. Most of these will be on the Express routes because they want to get as much mileage on them as possible before their warranty ends.
- MAT got the 19 buses from Orlando for free — Orlando just signed the titles over to them. MAT did this because they knew their fleet was aging and they didn’t have money to get new buses. They got these to “put their finger in the dike” (Simon’s phase). The idea was that they would have more buses to turn in and out. But the Orlando buses haven’t worked out like they had hoped and are on the end of their lives. Now most of the Orlando buses are being refabricated and will be back out on the street soon.
- MAT did not buy new buses and then turn around and sell them and then buy used ones, as a rumor states. Simon said that explicitly.
- After some complaints this winter about buses being late or not showing up, they stepped up bus inspection. At 3:15, dispatchers go to the garage to make sure they have buses for all the Express routes, which has worked in ending the “there was no bus in the garage” excuse.
- Circular buses generally have transmission problems so they are on the circular route until their rebuilt transmission comes in.
- There is no reason why a bus driver doesn’t know the route. All of them have been through classes and should know the route before they leave the barn. Simon said there is no excuse for that.