The Cottonwood City Council has approved a new larger bus fleet for the Verde Lynx route that plies back and forth between Cottonwood and Sedona.
The system has been using 21-passenger buses, but commuters frequently have to stand to accommodate the growing volume that uses the bus service. The service has been operating a "shadow bus" to pick up the additional passengers that cannot be seated on the lead bus, since the small bus is mounted on an extended 1-ton truck chassis.
The vehicles were originally approved for 150,000 miles, but with the annual mileage of 65,000 miles, the existing vehicles are now at 250,000 miles, according to Bruce Morrow, the system's director.
Morrow says the new buses can accommodate 30 seated passengers and the frame is sturdy enough to accommodate 15 more standing riders, if ever necessary. The larger buses are also rated for 450,000 miles over a 7-year period.
The cost for the larger buses for the Lynx service will be $290,883. ADOT will pick up 90 percent of the cost with Sedona and Cottonwood picking up the balance. The Sedona share, with a longer service area, will be $18,177 and the Cottonwood share will be $10,906.
Morrow says he is working on tweaking the schedule for the route, so that the Lynx routes are more frequent during the morning and afternoon commute times. The schedule on a 45-minute interval would also better mesh with the CAT schedule frequency.