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June 24, 2005

City and ULM Unveil New Monroe Transit Buses


A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 5th at the Monroe Civic Center to celebrate the addition of four (4) new transit buses to the Monroe Transit fleet. Both the exterior and interior of the buses are completely redesigned from the fleet purchased in 2003. In designing the exterior, the city partnered with the University of Louisiana at Monroe to create a paint scheme that could show the Monroe community's support of its university while also keeping with the Monroe Transit and the City of Monroe's identity. A ceremonial maiden voyage will be conducted following the ribbon cutting.

Mayor Jamie Mayo comments, "These vibrant new buses inspire a totally different level of respect and appreciation for the Monroe Transit System. The new amenities will make riding easier for all transit passengers and the great new color scheme displays the pride we have in ULM and the
Ouachita River."

ULM President Dr. Jim Cofer comments, "I commend Mayor Mayo and the City of Monroe for the artwork of these buses. This is a tremendous gesture and underscores the Mayor's support for ULM. I am pleased that he provided this opportunity for the City and ULM to work together and I'm looking forward to working together more in the future."

July 5th also begins Monroe Transit's Night Rider service. Four bus routes will run until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. This extension of hours will allow people to access work, shopping, and other destinations beyond the current ending time of 6:45 p.m.

The Monroe Transit system has taken delivery of four (4) new transit buses manufactured by the Gillig Corporation in Hayward, CA. The 35 feet long by 102-inch wide buses offer the latest in design and passenger comfort. Each bus seats 36 passengers and has a standing capacity for an additional 20 people. Several amenities have also been incorporated to improve accessibility and the overall riding experience:

1. Three LCD destination signs clearly display route and destination
Information and other informational messages.
2. A kneeling feature allows the front entrance door to lower
approximately six inches, allowing easier access for the elderly and
3. A wheelchair lift is also incorporated into the front stairwell,
allowing persons in wheelchairs or those who cannot climb stairs to board.
4. A bicycle rack, mounted on the front of the bus allows passengers to bring their bicycles along.

The NEW buses were purchased with a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration, with a 20% match from the city of Monroe. The overall cost for each bus was $272,359.

This new design kicks off the city's celebration of Monroe Transit System's 100th Anniversary. Begun in 1906, Monroe's Municipal Street Railway division was the second publicly owned streetcar system in the United States; predating both San Francisco and New Orleans' public systems. Four streetcar lines served the main areas of Monroe, such as: DeSiard Street; Lee Avenue, South Grand; and, what is now the Garden District. Since its inception, the Monroe Transit System has been continuously operated by the city of Monroe for almost 100 years, making it the oldest publicly owned transit system in the United States.

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