June 18, 2021
This morning at a 10:00 a.m. press conference, MTA added a new bus to the fleet. When MTA president and CEO Craig Ross arrived in 2017 he committed to replacing MTA’s aging buses. According to Ross, “Our latest new bus, Alfred, comes on the heels of our groundbreaking electric buses, Sparky and Bolt, who arrived October 2020. Alfred marks our 22nd new bus since 2017, and we’re not done yet.”
Why the name Alfred? A nod to Macon’s rich history.
Alfred honors Alfred T. Fellheimer (1897-1959), the American architect who designed Macon’s Terminal Station (1916). In that era, Fellheimer’s firm was considered the nation’s premier architectural firm designing terminals, most notably, New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal (1913).
New Flyer Xcelsior XD-35: Alfred’s Specs: New Flyer is the largest bus manufacturer in the world with more than 105,000 buses and coaches on the road. (X) stands for Xcelsior; (D) for diesel; and (35) refers to bus length. Alfred weighs 24,500 lbs., holds 100 gallons of diesel fuel, and travels at a top road speed of 65 mph.
Outfitted with Firestone tires and the latest safety equipment, it offers a front-mounted bicycle rack and can seat up to 31 passengers + standees, or 21 passengers with 3 wheelchairs. The new Xcelsior will be equipped with a protective shield (Covid) to separate the bus operator and riders and features the latest technology, including Parker Smart Suspension to improve ride control and reduce swaying.
The bus features kneeling capability enabling the driver to lower the bus to the curb when it stops, making rider entry and exit easier. MTA CEO Craig Ross adds, “The innovative suspension provides a more comfortable ride, enhances safety for older riders, people with special needs, or those who require assistance while boarding or exiting.”
Alfred’s Bus Wrap: Rather than paint, Alfred’s Terminal Station design is a 3M bus wrap, the best film on the market, carrying a 7-year warranty. Installing a bus wrap is an art. Rigorous classes and testing are required to become a 3M preferred installer, all told, some 2,000 hours of classes, training, and testing.