WALLA WALLA — Grape Line introduced its new fleet of commuter buses at an open house on Friday.
The three new 20-seater buses went into service earlier this month, replacing the older buses to provide shuttle service to and from the Pasco Greyhound terminal.
Last year, Grape Line received federal and state funding to buy the three new buses for roughly $115,00 per bus.
The buses provide several new features, including reclining seats, shoulder strap seat-belts, a rear luggage compartment and a more usable overhead storage system.
"I didn’t bring the car seat because personally I didn’t know they have seat belts. But they have seat belts," Carrie Johnson said, as she sat next to her son, Scotty, en route to Spokane via the Grape Line.
Grape Line Supervisor Kevin Oleson said the new buses also have an improved frame system, better heating and air conditioning and more insulation.
"Given our hot weather, they will handle the heat a lot better. And heaven knows we get enough of that around here," Oleson said.
But there is one drawback to the new buses. Since they were purchased with state and federal funds, the new Grape Line buses will not be available for private charter, Oleson said.
The Grape Line buses leave Walla Walla three times daily and are primarily used by people connecting to the Greyhound terminal in Pasco.
Stops along the way include College Place, Touchet, Wallula and Burbank. Cost is $6.50 per rider. Children 2 and under ride free.
The three old buses are off to Vancouver, B.C., for use during the Olympics, after which they will go to the Dungeness Line headquarters in Olympia, Oleson said.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.