The new Omnitrans Vehicle Maintenance Facility was designed to both maximize efficiency and conserve resources. The bus wash and fuel island, which services both the 40-foot coaches and the 60-foot sbX vehicles, has now been in operation for two months. Construction Manager Andres Ramirez recently took us on a tour of the facility so we could learn more about the different components.
Because water is such a precious commodity in California, conservation is essential. Approximately 80-90% of the water used in the bus wash is reclaimed. The water is captured by ground filters and is then machine processed to remove sand and other large particles.
Three large tanks supply the water and detergent for the bus wash: the first holds clean, filtered water, the second holds reclaimed water that has been processed, and the third tank holds detergent. A water softener and reverse osmosis system removes hard water minerals.
In the chassis wash, buses are placed on a lift so the underside of the coach can be sprayed clean of grease and dirt. The main bus wash area operates much like a regular car wash, with brushes and cleaners. Instead of drying the buses by hand as we did previously, an automatic dryer has been installed to increase efficiency.
Bus interiors are vacuumed using a special system. The end of the vacuum is designed to cover and latch tightly to the bus door. The powerful suction then sucks any trash or loose materials out through the large duct work and into a compactor/dumpster.
Hybrid cars used by field supervisors and trucks used by stop maintenance crews are fueled by an unleaded gas pump on the fuel island. Omnitrans buses and sbX vehicles are fueled by CNG pumps.
An air-conditioned employee lounge, complete with fridge, microwave, sink and restroom is conveniently located off the fuel island.
Information on the status of the mechanical equipment and fluid levels of each bus is automatically recorded by the Fleetwatch system. The maintenance department tracks these stats to plan product and equipment orders.
In order to operate the fuel and fluid dispensers, an authorized employee must first scan his badge. Fluids are topped off using dispensers which measure the amount of product used. A machine monitors the fluid levels, and alerts employees when they need to be replenished.
As a safety precaution, emergency eyewash and shower stations are installed throughout the facility.
Lube Cubes, which store the all fluids used in the dispensers, are kept in secured storage areas which can only be accessed with the swipe of an authorized employee ID badge.
A fenced-in catwalk near the fuel island ceiling can acommodate any additional storage needs.
Fare boxes are loaded into a secure vault, where they will later be retrieved for processing.
With the new Vehicle Maintenance Facility operational, the old temporary fuel island and bus wash will soon be taken down. The area will be then be turned into additional bus parking spaces.