Link Transit’s Test Of New Compact Buses Incomplete, No Seatbelts
It's not known if Link Transit will invest in compact size buses it was scheduled to test on Wenatchee Valley streets last month.
The transit has been looking at the Karsan "eJEST" model electric bus to use in its door-to-door Link Plus service for disabled people.
Spokesperson Eric West says the test never happened because the manufacturer delivered a bus without seatbelts, which are required for door-to-door service.
"I think maybe the folks who supplied the sample thought we were going to operate it on fixed route service which doesn't require seatbelts," said West. "And that was not our intension ever."
West says Link drivers still test drove the little blue buses without passengers and gave them a mixed review.
"It was a decent vehicle to drive," West said. "The biggest complaint was the driver's compartment was pretty tight, not designed for people of any size. So, just getting in and out of it was problematic for some folks."
The Karsen "eJEST" is a 10-passenger vehicle with one wheelchair spot. It’s 19 feet long, which is smaller than any vehicle Link has used in its fleet.
It’s also made in Germany and Turkey and is designed to maneuver through the narrow streets of European cities.
It has a top speed of 43 miles-per-hour and a range of 130 miles between charging stops.
In addition, the eJEST has a 12-year lifespan, compared to the current "cutaway" buses which typically last for five to seven years.
According to a news release from Link, the eJEST uses a BMW Li-ion 360V - 88 kWh battery system that can be fully charged in four hours using Level 2 charging, and in just over one hour with a DC Level 3 charger.
West said they don't need to make any additional purchases at the moment but wanted to test the "eJEST" because it became available and they're curious about how it could fit into the transit's operation.
Link says it's been a transit industry leader in transitioning to electric vehicles, and currently has 23 full-size electric buses in its fleet