RFTA bus logs 1 million miles | AspenTimes.com

RFTA bus logs 1 million miles

ASPEN – Think your vehicle has a lot of miles? A bus hauling passengers up and down the Roaring Fork Valley for the past 14 years recently topped 1 million.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has 105 buses in its fleet, including 24 workhorses built by Neoplan 12 to 14 years ago. Those Neoplans are among the best ever built, said Kenny Osier, RFTA director of maintenance, and they are far exceeding their life expectancy of 12 years or 500,000 miles. It was a Neoplan that topped 1 million miles last month.

“It’s the first Neoplan that’s hit a million miles, but there are several that are close,” Osier said. He estimated 20 others have logged 800,000 to 900,000 miles.

Other buses in the RFTA fleet probably have topped 1 million miles, Osier said. The Neoplan happens to be the most recent one.

Osier said it’s a combination of drivers, mechanics and the bus manufacturer that have kept the Neoplans on the road so long. The buses were built by a Lamar company that is no longer in business.

The buses put on 40,000 to 60,000 miles per year. They go through service every 5,000 miles and an oil change every 10,000. It’s getting more and more difficult to find replacement parts for them, so they likely don’t have much longer in the fleet, Osier said.

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“It’s like any car – eventually you have to say, ‘OK, it’s time,'” he said.

RFTA has 22 buses on order that will run on compressed natural gas. They are being built by Gillig, a company owned by the Crown family of Chicago, which also owns Aspen Skiing Co.

scondon@aspentimes.com