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New Flyer Industries Inc. is hopeful a $216-million (U.S.) contract to build buses for New York City's transit system could lead to hundreds more bus orders down the road.

The contract will see New Flyer's U.S.-based subsidiary, New Flyer of America Inc., build 135 compressed natural gas heavy-duty transit buses for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, with options for as many as 340 more.

"We are hopeful that the options will get converted," New Flyer's chief financial officer, Glenn Asham, said Monday. "New York is a very large buyer of buses and we'll see what happens as they come out with future procurements."

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If the options are exercised, this would add hundreds of millions of dollars to New Flyer's order backlog.

Mr. Asham said the company doesn't expect its weekly production rate to increase as a result of the initial order.

New Flyer plans to deliver two pilot buses to New York in the second quarter of 2011, with the balance of the initial ordered to be delivered in late 2011 and early 2012. The Winnipeg-based company also has an agreement with the transit authority to provide warranty and support services on site.

New York's transit authority is the largest transit agency in North America. It transports more than 11 million passengers on an average weekday and accounts for approximately 30 per cent of all transit trips in the U.S.

Since 1996, New Flyer has delivered 823 buses to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

New Flyer builds heavy-duty transit buses in the United States and Canada with facilities in Winnipeg, St. Cloud, Minn., and Crookston, Minn., with more than 2,000 employees.

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