November 22, 2010
Consult the classifieds in this issue to find 13 bids & proposals and 7 employment opportunities!
Innovative Brevi Bus Unveiled in Rural Putnam County
BY SUSAN R. PAISNER, Senior Managing Editor
Back in 2003, Putnam County, FL, decided to update its aging vehicle fleet, which included 10 buses. Ride Solution (which operates the system) searched around the country to find buses that would meet its needs—a bus that could traverse the county’s nearly 50 percent of unpaved roads.
Ride Solution proposed designing and building its own vehicle, tailored to its own specific needs. On Oct. 15, Rep. John Mica (R-FL)—ranking member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and its expected chair in the next Congress—attended the unveiling of the new Brevi—from “abbreviated”—Bus.
“Putnam County needed a vehicle to meet their needs and, when they approached me with the idea of building their own vehicle, I was a little skeptical. But I went to work for them and was successful in securing the approval to allow them to move forward and construct the Brevi,” said Mica.
What the Brevi Bus actually looks like was a surprise to everyone, who were basically expecting a chopped-up and put-back-together school bus. What they saw was a sleek, modern vehicle with an array of features, including:
* Specially designed seats that fold into the walls so people can wheel in wheelchairs and latch them.
* No steps to get on the kneeling bus.
* Automatic folding ramp with a very easy incline.
* The ability to hold five wheelchairs or two gurneys.
* No external blind spots—five cameras mounted outside.
* Modular engine design—replaceable within two hours.
When the bus was first tested on Putnam County’s most difficult dirt roads this past spring, Ride Solution hired a tow truck to follow behind—just in case. The tow truck got stuck. (Click here to see the Brevi Bus in action.)
“Like Putnam County, many rural areas have many unpaved roads which still need access to public transportation,” said Mica, “and these new Brevi Buses will fill this unique local and national need. The Brevi Bus is a great success and a testament to the ingenuity and vision of our residents.”
Rep. John Mica, holding scissors, cuts the ribbon to launch the Brevi Bus. From left are: front row, Putnam County officials Tim Parker, property appraiser; Tim Smith, clerk of courts; and Brad Purcell, commissioner; Dr. Carl Thornblad, fiscal consultant, Brevi Bus Project (Ride Solution Inc.); Alan Mosley, District 2 secretary, Florida DOT; Putnam County Commissioner Nancy Harris; Damian Ledonne, Brevi Bus shop supervisor; Mica; Boyd Thompson, executive director of Ride Solution Inc.; Palatka Vice Mayor Mary Lawson Brown; and Palatka City Commissioner Allegra Kitchens; back row, Palatka Mayor Karl Flagg; Palatka City Commissioner Vernon Myers; and, representing Brevi Bus, Archie Weiner, fabricator; Brett Fair, assistant fiberglass designer; and Greg Hill, project manager.