NTEA’s Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers Association recommends federal program improvements

This article was published in the July 2022 edition of NTEA News.

Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers Association (MSBMA) was founded in 1993 to enhance professionalism, safety and product quality in the mid-size bus industry. The group defines mid-size buses as passenger-carrying motor coaches, built on a cutaway or rail chassis or on monocoque construction, less than 40 feet in length and having a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,000 pounds (Class 7) or less. MSBMA members include bus manufacturers and other supporting companies such as component, system and service suppliers.

Some mid-size buses are purchased with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant money. To qualify for funding, grantees must ensure their bus models have undergone the New Model Bus Testing Program — known as Altoona testing, as the evaluation site is in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

As customers receiving FTA funds must prove purchased buses have undergone testing, they rely on manufacturers to provide proper verification. Under MAP-21 Act, Altoona tests include pass/fail criteria, designed to ensure a minimum performance level. As needed, MSBMA works with FTA to extend equivalence to applicable chassis in an effort to reduce testing for its bus manufacturing members.

In its meetings, MSBMA benefits from participation of key FTA and test facility representatives, as this enables the group to offer ongoing program improvement suggestions.

MSBMA monitors other recommended changes to federal requirements that may affect its members, and is actively developing relationships with liaisons from various chassis manufacturers linked to the mid-size bus industry. During meetings, routine discussion points include all aspects of upfitting, promoting and distributing buses built on various chassis. OEM participation plays a key role in these conversations.

How to join
To be eligible for MSBMA membership, an applicant must satisfy the qualifications to be either a Governing or Associate Member. A Governing Member applicant must be an NTEA manufacturer member in good standing engaged in the manufacture of mid-size buses in North America (defined to include United States, Mexico and Canada). An Associate Member applicant must be an NTEA associate, manufacturer or distributor member in good standing engaged in associated industries in North America.

For more information or to join, email Steve Spata, NTEA senior technical assistance director, at steves@ntea.com