Lextran’s new headquarters and maintenance facility is expected to improve the service’s dependability for its riders.
The agency celebrated the official opening of the West Loudon Avenue facility Wednesday.
“We expect a lot more service reliability because of our expanded maintenance facility… and the combination of our administrative staff being in one place,’ General Manager Carrie Butler said.
Lextran’s new centralized location for administrators, drivers and maintenance crews sits on the site of the former GE Lighting Kentucky Glass Plant. The 13.69-acre site replaces three of the transportation service’s former locations.
Assistant General Manager Jill Barnett said that Lextran’s expanded maintenance capacity will save much needed time when repairing buses. Seven instead of two can be worked on simultaneously.
Lextran employs 186 people and operates a fleet of 65 buses.
“Whereas before, someone might spend time going to and from a vendor to get a bus we had to send out for repair, they can now work on that vehicle here and ... send the buses back on the street sooner,” Barnett said.
Valli Givens, whose brother works for Lextran, said she was optimistic about the new facility’s effect on the community. Givens works with Meals on Wheels and several of her volunteers rely on the bus system to help her out.
“Absolutely, I could see it making a difference,” Givens said. “I think it will build morale in the community.”
$38,000 the amount of money Lextran will save in rent expenses with its new facility
According to a press release by Lextran, the new facility demonstrates a commitment to sustainability. The buildings on the Lextran campus have white roofs to reduce heat and large windows to allow more natural lighting. Through a city grant, landscape elements, called bioswales, were installed to remove silt and pollution from rainwater. Permeable pavers in the parking lots reduce runoff pollutants.
Construction on a fueling component for Lextran’s compressed natural gas buses is expected to begin in June. The agency will also add five new battery-electric vehicles to its fleet later this year thanks to a federal grant.
The new building provides a rest area for drivers on split shifts, a shower and locker area and a workout facility.
Old facilities occupied by Lextran have been designated by the board of directors as surplus and will be advertised for sale. Barnett said there was community interest in the old sites and a community meeting is expected for midsummer.
“There has been a lot of community interest in that property, and we also want to get the community’s feedback to ensure that the way it is used enhances the community,” Barnett said.