The Bus Coalition and Community Transportation Association of America have joined Co-Chairs Congressmen David Young (R-IA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) to announce the official launch of the Bipartisan Congressional Bus Caucus (BCBC). The purpose of BCBC is to give a stronger voice to the over 1,100 bus transit systems across the country and highlight the benefits of adequate federal funding of bus transit programs.
The Caucus seeks to raise awareness on Capitol Hill of the challenges accompanying aging bus fleets and facilities, and encourage innovation in a rapidly changing transportation climate where transit agencies strive to deliver reliable service and meet a state of good repair.
Buses are the unsung hero and workhorses in our nation’s transportation network and provide over 51% of transit trips per year. Added together, 5.44 billion bus transit trips per year provide access for people with disabilities, cost-effective transportation for low-income riders and help commuters get to work, students to school and patients to see their doctor. While buses may not get the attention of larger, urban transit modes, they are the backbone of the transit ecosystem and provide critical service in communities of all sizes.
Most of Intercity Transit’s 71-bus fleet is over 15 years old and built to run for 12 years. The fleet covers 3 million miles and runs about 215,000 service hours to support over 4 million boardings each year. “Our mechanics and drivers have done an amazing job of keeping our aging fleet on the road in service of Thurston County residents, many of whom have no other transportation choice,” says Ann Freeman-Manzanares, General Manager at Intercity Transit. “Technology and consumer demands have changed significantly since our buses rolled off the factory floor.”
“I see how funding cuts at the federal, state and local level are impacting bus systems of all size,” says Richard DeRock, President of The Bus Coalition. “Many agencies are struggling to keep up with aging fleets and crumbling transit facilities. We know when systems age and service is cut, the rider experience suffers and ridership declines. The new Congressional Caucus will shine a light on the needs of the bus transit community and give voice to a transportation asset that is so important to our local and national economy.”
Intercity Transit is seeking state and federal funding for over $34 million in capital improvements to facilities at its Pattison street headquarters where buses are housed and maintained, and at the Olympia Transit Center downtown where an expansion will include the new Greyhound station.