The new buses will be placed into immediate use, replacing buses in the existing fleet that have each accumulated over 300,000 miles.
The Georgia Department of Corrections tasked Blue Bird with providing increased passenger and storage capacity with its newly redesigned All American bus. Officials said the manufacturer met the challenge, providing buses that increase seating capacity by four, seating a total of 50 passengers. In addition, storage was fully maximized with pass-through luggage compartments and interior storage bins. These buses also feature a custom onboard lavatory.
The Georgia Department of Corrections’ buses are the first of Blue Bird’s redesigned 2014 All American buses to roll off of the production line in Fort Valley, Ga.
Officials said that the buses feature Blue Bird’s exclusive purpose-built chassis, an ergonomic driver’s cockpit for increased driver comfort, a larger windshield, which provides improved driver sightlines, an excellent turning radius, a larger entrance door, enhanced serviceability, excellent fuel economy and greater parts commonality with other Blue Bird buses.
“As a Georgia-based manufacturer for over 86 years, and as the second largest manufacturer in the automotive category in Georgia, Blue Bird is pleased to provide the Georgia Department of Corrections with buses that have been crafted by and for Georgians,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “Blue Bird’s longstanding commitment to the state of Georgia is present in every bus it builds. Our manufacturing facilities are all based in Fort Valley, and we employ 1,500 Georgians from over 20 Georgia counties. Additionally, over 20% of the materials used to build our buses are sourced from Georgia-based companies. Blue Bird supports Georgia-based companies to further stimulate a prosperous Georgia economy.”
Officials said that a 2009 economic multiplier study found that for every $1 that Georgia school districts and other customers spend on Blue Bird buses, that dollar is multiplied four times within the state. Every Blue Bird bus sold in Georgia provides a positive impact to the state gross domestic product by approximately $86,000.
Also, Eric Arnold, vice president of power systems for Yancey Brothers Co., parent company of Yancey Bus Sales and Service, noted that the dealership is “honored” to have the opportunity to provide buses to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
“We look forward to future opportunities where we can provide products and services that allow for safe and dependable transportation throughout Georgia,” Arnold said.
In addition to Horlock, Owens and Arnold, officials in attendance at the event included state of Georgia Chief Operating Officer Bart Gobeil, Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, local elected officials and representatives from the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.
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