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Fri, Sep 27, 2013

New Vehicle Being Tested on Tempe’s Orbit Routes

Starting August 7, the city of Tempe will partner with bus manufacturer New Flyer to test a new mid-size bus called New Flyer MiDi. Because of Tempe’s successful Orbit program, Tempe was selected as a testing site for the MiDi bus.

An analysis and public involvement process will be conducted to determine the feasibility of utilizing a midsize, medium duty bus model on Orbit routes. A public meeting will be held Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Tempe Transportation Center, 200 E. Fifth St. Riders can also comment online beginning August 7. If the testing program is successful and the general bus type is accepted by the Tempe community and City Council, the city could consider procuring this general type of vehicle with the next fleet replacement cycle beginning in 2017.

New Flyer partnered with bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis to bring this vehicle to the North American market, and production vehicles will be built at New Flyer’s St. Cloud, MN plant.  The MiDi bus fulfills a gap in the U.S. marketplace between small buses, such as those currently used on Orbit, and heavy duty buses, such as those used on major streets like Rural Road and Baseline Road. 

“This is a great opportunity for Tempe to test a bus with higher passenger capacity on Orbit routes with virtually no cost to the city,” said Greg Jordan, Deputy Public Works Director - Transit.  “The testing program requires the bus to operate in-service on the five (5) Orbit routes for up to four months.”

The basic bus specifications of the current Orbit bus vs. MiDi include:

Current Orbit Bus
Length: 24.5 feet
Width: 8 feet, 3 inches
Height: 10 feet, 8 inches
Seats: 17
Standing Area: Space for 6 standing passengers
Wheelchairs: two positions and a vertical wheelchair lift
Entry: high floor with 3 steps at the boarding door
Bike racks: 2

Prototype MiDi Bus
Length: 30 feet
Width: 8 feet
Height: 9 feet, 4 inches
Seats: 27 seats
Standing Area: Space for 26 standing passengers
Wheel chairs: two positions with a front door wheelchair ramp
Entry to bus: low floor design eliminates steps at the boarding door
Bike Racks: 0 – This particular model of bus will not support a bike rack. Consistent with present practice, all future replacement buses will be required to have bike racks.

For more information, call 480-350-8663 or visit

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