TriMet promises new $4.3 million MAX trains will be roomier inside, even if outside looks the same
Published: Friday, April 06, 2012, 4:58 PM Updated: Friday, April 06, 2012, 5:01 PM
By Joseph Rose, The Oregonian
TriMet riders, how are those newer, sleeker MAX trains working for you?
I’m among those who have had plenty of complaints. In 2009, shortly after the Type 4 trains debuted, I wrote about TriMet’s apparent “war on legs.” My measuring-tape tests showed the leg room on the newer models more suited for Hobbits than daily job trekkers.
So, I gave off an audible groan when I read today that TriMet is planning to spend $73.8 million on 18 “Type 5” trains from Siemens using the exact same body design as the Type 4s.
I wasn’t alone. On Twitter, Portland Afoot blogger Michael Anderson tweeted, "Boo hiss.” TriMet Diaries blogger Jeff "Dr. Jeff" Guardalabene retweeted an open "Dear Type 4" letter from December, calling the train "a rolling body cramp, an affront to basic human needs."
But even though the outside of the future trains will come from the same mold, the interior is expected to be roomier. “We’re taking lessons from the Type 4 and applying it to the Type 5,” said TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch. “We will make suggestions on what to change, from the configuration of the operator’s cabin to general rider areas.”
Phew! Good news, especially when you consider that some seats on the Type 4 partially butt up against door frames, giving one leg 8 inches to move and the other a tortuous 4 inches. Huh?
Siemens was one of three companies to bid on the contract, which is expected to be awarded as part of a resolution going before the board this month resolution going before the TriMet board this month (PDF).
The 18 trains are being paid for through the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail line’s $1.5 billion capital budget.
The federal government is expected to sign off on a final agreement to fund half of the 7.3-mile Orange Line, with TriMet and local governments set to cover the other half. Of course, in Clackamas County, an initiative requiring Clackamas County voter approval before the county pays $25 million to TriMet for the project is on the fall ballot.
According to the purchase resolution, ranked the three companies that submitted bids on a “price score” formula “based on the proposed base contract price plus a weighted price for options.”
Siemen’s proposal, according to the document, received the highest score -- largely because it was $8 million below the project engineer’s estimate. “This Resolution authorizes TriMet to execute a contract with Siemens for the base price amount of $73.8 million, and to execute contract modifications for contingency costs in an amount not to exceed $6.4 million,” the document reads.
A “Buy America” audit reportedly concluded that the Siemens proposal complied with the Federal Transit Administration’s requirements, containing 77 percent American-made components by cost, exceeding the 60 percent minimum required.
A Stadler proposal, by contrast, offered a little more than 70 percent American-made content, while train-maker CAF offered only to exceed the required 60-percent minimum.
The transit geeks over at the Portland Transport blog have more on how contract works, while alluding to their April Fools light-rail joke. (I told you they were geeks.)
The Orange Line is scheduled to open in September 2015. TriMet is currently building a $135 million bridge over the Willamette River for the line. Portlanders should see the bridge’s towers begin to emerge from the water in May.
-- Joseph Rose, Twitter: pdxcommute