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After Yearlong Delay, Septa Begins Road-Testing Its New Buses

(One of Septa's new "Nova" buses.  Photo provided by Septa)

(One of Septa’s new “Nova” buses. Photo provided by Septa)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Septa is finally ready to start rolling out new buses, after delays of more than a year in the manufacturing process.

Septa officials say drivers are taking the new bus for test runs, to make sure all the bugs are worked out.   Earlier glitches included the wrong seats and mismatched paint.

Septa assistant general manager Ron Hopkins says the delays will be worth it:

“If the quality is at a high level, that (will ensure when) the buses are on the street, they’re operating and there’s no breakdowns.  That’s really our goal, and we’re willing to accept certain delays to be able to have that quality for our passengers.”

Hopkins expects to take delivery of one or two “Nova” buses per week, and to have 70 new buses in service by the end of the year.

“We’re replacing buses that are 14 to 18 years old,” he notes.

These are the super-long buses that bend in the middle.  Hopkins says they’ll look the same as the old ones but are more fuel-efficient hybrids and will have LED lighting, steel seats, and lower floors.

By the end of 2015, he hopes to have replaced all 155 of the big buses and 90 regular buses.

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