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New Citylink buses arrive in Lewiston-Auburn

The LA community saw a lot more purple on Monday morning, as three 35-foot low-floor purple Citylink transit buses hit the streets for the first time.

The heavy-duty, 31-passenger Gillig buses were completely funded by American Reinvestment Recovery Act Funds (ARRA). American-made buses that were manufactured in Hayward, Calif., they include two wheelchair tie-down locations.

“These are real heavy-duty transit coaches that will serve the communities well for the next 12 years,” said Pat Christian, general manager of Western Maine Transportation Services, Inc.

The purchase of the buses, valued at $371,406 each, was made possible by the Maine Department of Transportation “piggy backing” on an existing bid awarded to San Mateo, Calif. The State of Maine received 13 ARRA-funded buses, with buses going to Lewiston-Auburn Transit, Bangor, Portland’s METRO and South Portland.

“MaineDOT needs to be given a lot of credit for making this purchase happen,” stated Marsha Bennett, Lewiston-Auburn transit coordinator. “Their quick work in finding an open bid that met the ARRA funding requirements, the needs of the transit operators and the state’s procurement requirements took a lot of manpower.”

The buses were delivered on time, 18 months from the issuance of the corresponding purchase order. Gillig representatives have been in Maine performing post-delivery inspections and providing maintenance training for all bus operators.

In addition, Western Maine Transportation Services, Inc., which is Lewiston-Auburn Transit’s contracted operator, has been getting the buses ready for service. Fare boxes and surveillance camera systems have been installed, along with destination sign programming.

At the event on Monday, the drivers were all smiles!

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