In an email I got from Andrew De Garmo (posted in this thread
), he confirmed that the new 800-series New Flyer DE40LFR buses will replace some of the 400-series buses, except on a few routes such as the D-Ride and possibly a few others. He also confirmed that the buses will be based at the Yale Transit Faciltiy. As a side note, he said that the city was considering basing them at the Daytona Transit Facility, however, they decided against the idea due to the fact that it would result in longer deadheads for some routes.
So, we now have official confirmation that ABQ RIDE will be replacing some of the 400-series buses. I am thinking that most routes that currently get 400s will soon get 800s. A few commuter routes that get 300s may also be shifted to 800s to right-size capacity on the routes where a 400 is too small.
So, I was wondering, what will be the future for the 300-series buses then? The 300s have reached their 12-year mark. However, because they are high-floor, they are able to hold more seats than a 700 or 800 series bus. However, high-floor buses are going by the wayside. New Flyer recently introduced a new 40-foot low-floor bus product known as the Xcelsior, which offers more capacity and weighs 10% less. ABQ RIDE currently has options for 68 40-foot New Flyer hybrid buses, although I don't know if ABQ RIDE will be able to use the options to buy some Xcelsior buses.
For the replacement of the remaining 400-series buses (such as those on the D-Ride), I am wondering what will be the eventual plans. New Flyer's 30-foot buses only have one door as the elevated rear section is the same size as it is on their 40-foot counterparts. An alternative would be some 31-foot Gillig BRT Hybrid buses, which have a proportionately smaller elevated rear section than New Flyer's 30 foot buses. Another more lightweight medium-duty alternative more similar to the 400-series buses would be the Optima Opus Hybrid, however, it uses an ISE-Thundervolt series hybrid drivetrain rather than an Allison parallel hybrid drivetrain.
So, does anyone have any thoughts?