Linn Shuttle gets new bus, adds routes

Sean C. Morgan

Linn Shuttle put a new bus into service last week, bringing its total number of propane-fueled buses to five, and signaling an accompanying increase in the shuttle routes between Sweet Home and Albany.

The new vehicle is a Glaval Concorde II built on a Ford F650 chassis, said Ken Jarmer of Creative Bus Sales, which delivered the vehicle Friday, Sept. 27. It has a V10 propane engine.

The graphics theme is “LBCC Action,” said Senior Center Director Ken Bronson. The graphics feature different activities by groups of Linn-Benton Community College students, including the school’s award-winning choral group, volleyball and more.

Graphics were created by Gillespie Graphics of Wilsonville.

The bus is the first of two, Bronson said. The second will arrive in about 45 days. One is a replacement, and one will provide additional service.

Leaving the Linn Shuttle fleet is bus number 9, named “Old Smokey,” Bronson said. The bus, manufactured in 2016, has 192,000 miles on its odometer.

Linn Shuttle has 2014 buses with 330,000 miles that run much better, Bronson said. The useful life of a Class B bus is 350,000 miles. Four of Linn Shuttle’s buses are beyond their useful life, but Linn Shuttle has taken good care of them and maximized their use.

Grant-funded by Oregon Department of Transportation, Bronson said he had to use the “lemon clause” to get rid of the bus.

Linn Shuttle is switching over to propane engines because they run cleaner, and it’s more expensive to keep diesel engines in compliance with regulations.

To demonstrate, Bronson turned over two jars filled with oil from a 5,000-mile oil change. The oil from the propane engine was clearer and ran quickly back down to the bottom of the jar than that from the diesel.

Bronson said it would take 36 hours before the top of the jar with oil from a diesel engine cleared.

Meanwhile, last week the bus service increased its shuttle routes from seven to 10 per day between Sweet Home and LBCC in Albany, which also allows for additional bus transportation to Corvallis.

The new schedule starts at 6:50 a.m. in Sweet Home and the final return trip takes off at LBCC in Albany at 8:55 p.m.

“Frequency is everything in public transit,” Bronson said, explaining the changes. “So we’re increasing the frequency so people don’t have to wait as long. We want students who are taking classes in Lebanon and Albany to be able to get there and get home.”

The change is the third of three phases in increased service for Linn Shuttle, which began in July with the addition of Saturday service from Sweet Home to Albany, with stops in Lebanon.

Then, in August, the number of runs for Sweet Home Shuttle was doubled, and the hours expanded to 6 a.m. through 8:31 p.m., which allows students to ride the shuttle to and from school.