GRTA seeks to rehab aging commuter bus fleet

Some metro Atlanta express bus customers may soon be riding in style, as the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority plans to refurbish its fleet.

GRTA provides express bus service on 25 routes in 12 counties. Last year it logged two million passenger boardings.

The agency uses a fleet of 166 coaches – but 95 of them are at least 10 years old and are near the end of their useful life of 12 years, Executive Director Chris Tomlinson told the Transportation Subcommittee of the state House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

So the agency has begun rehabbing 30 of the buses. They will get new engines, transmissions and other major components, plus an exterior and interior remodel, Wi-Fi, cameras and new lighting.

Tomlinson said it costs up to $750,000 to buy a new coach, but just $240,000 to $290,000 to rehab one and extend its life by four years.

The agency has asked the General Assembly for $2 million to match $8 million in federal funding to rehab another 32 coaches next year. It hopes to rehab 158 of its buses by 2021.