FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Blue Bird Corp.’s total bus line has successfully completed Altoona testing, and the company is reportedly the only large bus manufacturer to achieve this accomplishment.
Blue Bird’s full line of Vision, All American and Micro Bird buses have been tested utilizing the Altoona criteria described below:
• Maintainability. This segment of the test is broken into three subsections that focus on the ease and time required to service the bus’ components. The subsections include accessibility, service/preventive maintenance and repair/replacement.
• Reliability. Documents breakdowns, repairs, downtime and repair time that occurs during testing.
• Safety. Determines handling and stability of the bus through a double-lane change test.
• Performance. Determines acceleration, grade ability, top speed and the braking capabilities of the bus.
• Structural integrity. Includes various subsections, including structural shakedown, structural distortion, static towing, dynamic towing, jacking, hoisting and durability.
• Fuel economy. Provides accurate fuel economy data based on driving various route profiles.
• Noise. Measures and records interior and exterior noise levels and checks for audible vibration under various operating conditions.
• Emissions. Provides comparable gas and emissions data while operating the bus over a simulated route.
The Altoona test, performed in Duncansville, Pa., is required for any buses purchased utilizing Federal Transit Administration funds. While there is no pass or fail designation applied, the standardized test is utilized as a comparison tool for purchase decisions.
Blue Bird buses have undergone Altoona testing since 1993. In the event that a bus experiences substantial product redesign, the Altoona test is re-administered. Blue Bird submitted the Micro Bird G5, the All American forward engine and the All American rear engine for testing within the past year.
The Blue Bird Vision was re-tested in 2010 following its redesign and enhancements, with the Propane-Powered Vision also completing successful testing this year.
“Altoona testing provides information that validates the quality design of our buses, and Blue Bird is the only manufacturer that has put our entire product line through this thorough testing process,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “Blue Bird rigorously tests its products, whether the tests are administered by our own highly skilled engineers or by a third party. With safety, quality, durability and serviceability at the forefront of our mission, Blue Bird’s testing confirms that our product line is at the top of its game and continues to set industry standards.”