Perhaps, we should have re-named this column “Looking Ahead.”
By now nearly everyone has noticed the all white rather boxy former SEPTA (Philadelphia’s transit system) buses parked around the CAT property.
CAT acquired four of these used buses to work trippers, etc. during the period while we await the delivery of 11 new Gillig hyrid-diesels. Gillig last advised us that deliveries, due to customer demand, may extend to 15 months from now. The former Philadelphia buses will, eventually, allow us to retire the remaining five TMC / RTS buses.
These buses are 1996 NABI (North American Bus Industries) model 416. They were part of a 400 bus order delivered to Philadelphia during 1996-1997. Although 1996 models in 2002 as part of a stringent “mid-life” rebuilding program these buses were completely remanufactured in SEPTA’s shops – most major components were replaced allowing for additional service life for the vehicles.
We have not had NABI buses in our fleet prior to this, but most of the features will be similar to our 9500 series Gilligs including the front door wheelchair. Door controls are different as operators will notice two large green buttons rather than the usual door handle.
Seating capacity is a full 44, allowing for 6 more seated passengers than our largest Gillig low-floor transits – the NABI’s are, however, still only 40 feet long and 8 1/2 feet wide – the same as a low-floor Gillig.
They will enter service in mid-January as CAT fleet numbers 9602-9605.