The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority recently opened bids for 240 Metrobuses equipped with special facilities to accommodate elderly and handicapped passengers.
Wide doors and a lift device that will transport a passenger in a wheelchair from the bus stop to the inside of the bus will be available on 120 of the 225 full-sized bused and on 15 smaller buses. In addition, all of the buses will "kneel" to within eight inches of the pavement when they come to a stop. They will also have space for a wheelchair next to the seats which face each other in the front of the buse.
The apparent low bidder was the Flexible Co. of Delware, Ohio, at $18,178,248 for 225 full-sized buses and $1,244,293 for 15 smaller buses. The estimate by WMATA was $18,533,750 for the 40-foot buses and $1,140,000 for the 31-foot buses.
The buses will be purchased with a $17 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant covering 80 per cent of the cost. The balance of the funds will come from local governments, according to the transist authority. The first buses are expected to be delivered next summer.
In a second bid, an Alexandria firm was the apparent low bidder for construction of parking, bus, and "kiss and ride" spaces at the New Carroliton subway station. The firm, Shirley Contracting Co., Inc., of 433 Monroe Ave., submitted a bid of $1,675,332. The WMATA estimate was $2,158,202.
The New Carrollton station is planned to be open in July, 1978, when the Orange Line opens. Stations to be open include Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover, and New Carrollton. Each station will have parking, and the New Carrollton station will have the largest lot, with 1,900 spaces.