Rapid Transit Series
|Rapid Transit Series|
|GM / TMC / Nova / MTS - RTS|
|Years of manufacture||1977 to present|
|Length||30, 35, 40 feet|
|Width||96, 102 inches|
|Power/Fuel||Diesel, natural gas|
The Rapid Transit Series (RTS) bus is a long-running series of transit buses originally manufactured by General Motors and is currently produced by Millennium Transit Services as the RTS Legend. The RTS was GMC's entry into the Advanced Design Bus project and is the descendant of GMC's entry in the U.S. Department of Transportation's "Transbus" project. The RTS is notable for its futuristic (at the time) styling featuring automobile-like curved body and window panels.
The RTS is the descendant of GMC's entry for the Transbus project which in turn was the descendant of the RTX (Rapid Transit Experimental). The RTX prototype was produced in 1969 and was similar in appearance to the Transbus entry (known officially as the RTS-3T for "RTS 3-axle Transbus). The RTX had three axles and had a lower floor than other buses at the time. It had 2+1 bucket seating and used a GT-309 gasoline turbine with toric-type continuously-variable transmission. The RTS-3T also had the lower floor and three axles, but was 45 feet in length, had conventional transit seating, and used a different Detroit-Diesel Allison gasoline turbine with an Allison transmission.
Wanting a backup plan in the case that the Transbus project was abandoned, GMC decided to modify the RTX/Transbus design and in 1970 began the project that became the earliest RTS with the first prototype being assembled in 1973 at which point the project went onto hiatus. It's appearance was closer to its predecessors than the production models, but had two axles and standard floor height. The RTS name debuted with this prototype. After the project was revived in 1974, GMC would later withdraw from the Transbus project and focus their energies on the RTS.
GMC sold the RTS design and patent rights to Transportation Manufacturing Corporation (TMC) of Roswell, New Mexico in May 1987 though the two companies did a joint order for the New York City MTA to prepare TMC for the production. TMC would sell the design and patents to Nova Bus in September 1994 in the midst of an order for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Production under NovaBus would continue until 2002 when NovaBus left the U.S. market. The production was revived by Millennium Transit Services in 2003, although the status of the firm's viability and future is somewhat uncertain.
|RTS-01||1977-1978||Produced for a consortium of agencies in California, Massachusetts, and Texas. Although prototypes of shorter lengths and narrower widths were built, customer 01s were only built as 40-foot, 102-inch wide coaches powered by 8V-71s. Features flush mounted windows, plug-type doors, and sloped rear end.|
|RTS-03||1978-1980||Similar to the 01, with minor styling differences. First RTS series to offer buses in 35-foot lengths and 96-inch widths, and offer powertrain other than the 8V-71.|
|RTS-04||1981-1986||Upgraded air conditioning unit eliminates sloped rear. Features traditionally mounted windows. Two experimental articulated models were built: a 55-foot model followed by a 60-foot model.|
|RTS-05||1987||Experimental T-drive configuration (only one built). Two modules before the engine module were combined and axle set in the center. Featured a 6V92TA engine.|
|RTS-06||1986-2002||Electrical and mechanical subsystems upgrades. Independent front suspension replaced with a solid beam axle.|
|RTS-07||1992||Experimental T-drive configuration built by TMC similar to GMC's. Only two models that were produced were for SMART in suburban Detroit.|
|RTS-08||1989-1994||Based on specifications for CTA who wanted a front wheelchair lift. Distinctive square and flat front end.|
|RTS Legend||2003-2008, 2011-present||Millennium's continuation of the RTS with modern features and T-drive configuration. Used half modules before rear door and after last window.|
The Detroit Diesel 8V71 engine was standard in the early models, but the 6V71 engine was made available begining with the RTS-03. The 6V92TA was later made available. The Allison V-730 was standard until the RTS-06 when it was replaced with the V-731.
TMC continued with the Detroit Diesel and Allison powertrain, offering the Detroit Diesel Series 50 and VR-731 when they debuted. Powertrain options diversified begining in 1989 with a CNG engine being made available. The 1990s saw the introduction of options for ZF transmissions and Cummins engines.
Nova Bus continued to offer Detroit Diesel and Cummins engines including CNG and LNG options. Allison and ZF transmissions were options. Partnering with the Federal Transit Administration and Georgetown University, Nova Bus supplied an RTS that was made to run using a methanol fuell cell with a hybrid system in 1998. The bus used a UTC fuel cell and a BAE Systems HybriDrive. Another fuel cell hybrid was developed in 2001 using a Ballard fuel cell instead. Working with ISE Corporation, a batch of diesel-electric hybrid buses were built for New Jersey Transit to trial in 2001.
Millennium introduced the option of the Caterpillar C9 engine coupled to a ZF Ecomat 2 transmission in a T-drive configuration. The Cummins ISL and John Deere engines were also advertised, but there are no known examples were built with them. In complying with the EPA 2010 emissions, the Cummins ISL9 and Cummins Westport ISL G were made options when RTS production began again in late 2011.