Although recessionary woes have dominated news in the private automotive sector, the public transportation arena in the U.S. has benefited: North American Bus Industries Inc. (NABI, Anniston, Ala.) reports that its order book is filling and production deliveries are on a record pace. NABI recently delivered its 200th 45-ft all-composite, low-floor CompoBus to the Los Angeles County MTA (LACMTA). LACMTA recently ordered 91 more CompoBuses — its fourth follow-on order, which brings the total units ordered by LACMTA to 492.
One of the earliest public transit vehicles to feature extensive structural composites (launched in 2001), the CompoBus body and chassis are produced from glass- and carbon-fiber reinforced polymers, a construction attractive to public transit companies for its reduced weight, damage tolerance and resistance to rust and other types of corrosion. Additionally, its 46-seat design adds 20 percent to passenger capacity and, therefore, operating efficiency, compared to a conventional 40-ft metal-structured bus.