With schools back in session, summer breaks all but wrapped up and just about everybody else back at school or work, The Signal visited one of the places in Santa Clarita where the motion never stops — the city of Santa Clarita’s Transit Maintenance Facility.
The city of Santa Clarita’s Transit Maintenance Facility, or TMF, is a 12-acre, state-of-the-art transportation hub on Constellation Avenue, where city traffic, transportation and engineering officials can all look at what keeps residents moving.
City staff shared a behind-the-scenes look at the 24-hour transit facility that provides the community with public transportation every day.
Alexander Porlier, administrative analyst for the City of Santa Clarita, shared some building features that helped garner the city the LEED green building standard.
“You do have to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council,” he said. “It’s a point system — they score us from the type of carpet we’ve used, to the type of roofing material — even how the materials got here is evaluated.”
The TMF was recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for the multiple energy- and environmentally friendly strategies used in the design, making it the first of its kind in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The city’s design also earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Gold Building Standard certificate for the energy and environmental design strategies that went into the construction planning.
Porlier escorted Signal reporters through the administration building that houses offices along with a driver and dispatch hub operated by MV Transportation personnel.
“All of the exterior walls were built with straw hay bales,” said Porlier. “Straw hay bales don’t have any air voids in them, so it’s a way to keep out warm air pockets. If you look at the major beams, they’re actually the scraps of the milling process so rather than chopping down whole trees to make beams were using remnants of old beams essentially. In addition to the pressed wood we have large steel beams those are manufactured from used automobiles.”
The tour gave reporters access to the bus yard where the city’s transportation fleet of seven different natural gas burning buses are parked underneath photovoltaic panels which supplies 95 percent of the facility’s electricity, according to Porlier.
Drivers were seen returning from early morning routes in the yard where they conduct daily operator inspections before and after commutes.
Porlier then steered the tour to maintenance building where MV Transportation mechanics perform scheduled and unscheduled repairs and preventive maintenance on buses.
“This is the brains of the bus operation, they’re all digitally monitored,” said Porlier. “There’s a probe up here, so every time the bus comes in, we link up with the vehicle, and that will download the farebox data, but it also upload any new data — so any route changes get uploaded.”
The TMF previously operated out of a public works yard before the construction of the new facility was completed in 2006.
“We used to work out of the public works yard down the road, but as our system grew we outgrew that facility,” said Porlier. “We came over here and built a custom facility just for buses. A lot of agencies send their vehicles off-site for major repairs — we can do all that here and that minimizes our downtime. We can get most repairs done here, which saves time and money.”
Freddy Jiménez, fleet maintenance manager and MV Transportation employee for 20 years, also shared some career advice for aspiring mechanics during Friday’s tour.
“Have that passion to fix things and take some classes — I know COC has some automotive courses,” said Jiménez. “I’ve been here 20 years. it’s been a great career; it’s taken me from technician to lead to supervisor and, now, managing this whole fleet.”
The TMF is open to the public for guided and self-guided tours. For more information, visit santaclaritatransit.com