New Jersey Transit plans to restore 200 of its new transit-style buses as part of a $27 million program to be performed by agency mechanics over two years, saving millions on new bus purchases.

The program, approved by the NJ Transit board of directors last month, calls for the refurbishment of 200 new North American Bus Industries transit buses from 2012 to 2013 at the agency’s Central Maintenance Center in Newark.

Electric buses may replace old 2008-09 NABI buses pending results an electric bus pilot program will begin in Camden later this yearaccording to the agency’s updated strategic plan.

“The renovation program is tentatively scheduled to begin in October pending approval of the FTA grant. It’s estimated to take about two years,” said Emma Wright, spokeswoman for NJ Transit.

NJ Transit has applied for an $18.5 million Federal Transportation Administration grant to fund the purchase of parts and materials. The agency has a fleet of 992 NABI buses with an average age of 12 years. This company was bought by New Flyer bus manufacturer in 2013.

“Buses will benefit the most from these rehabilitation efforts,” Wright said. She said they averaged 300,000 miles each.

The estimated cost of the new transit bus is $575,000 each. The mid-life rehabilitation campaign is estimated to cost about $130,000 per bus in labor and material costs.

The buses will have new engines and transmissions, interior seats and updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Repairs to electrical systems, frame and body components will be performed as needed. They will also be repainted

Wright said a request for replacement of NABI’s aging buses will be sent soon. This can include longer 60-foot articulated buses which bend in the middle when turning, and after the test program – electric buses.

As garages are expanded or replaced, additional articulated buses will be considered for high volume bus corridors where peak ridership is high and routes can use a larger articulated bus.

Pending the results of an eight-bus electric bus pilot program in Camden and a follow-up program on a 25-bus route in Newark, the first phase of the diesel bus replacement program involves retrofitting 2% to 3% of NJ Transit’s bus fleet. to zero-emission vehicles, according to the plan.

That could happen after upgrading and adding charging infrastructure at five bus garages, Wayne, Hilton in Maplewood, Greenville in Jersey City, Hamilton and Newton Avenue in Camden, part of the first phase of electrification. The Newton Avenue Garage received an infrastructure upgrade which were completed earlier this year.

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