* Q1 orders rise 39 percent; deliveries rise 3 percent
* Q1 backlog down 4 pct
* Says US transit authorities sees rise in passengers
* Says not much change in US govt funding for buying buses (Follows alerts)
April 15 - Canada's New Flyer Industries Inc NFI_u.TO said orders for its transit buses jumped 39 percent in the first quarter and posted a surprise rise in deliveries as more people preferred to take a bus in the wake of rising gasoline prices.
Less than a month back the bus maker had warned that deliveries would fall this year on fears of a fall in funding for U.S. transit authorities, which could lead to increased competition and pricing wars. [ID:nL3E7EM1N1]
The company -- which competes with Gillig Corp, Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Orion Bus and Volvo's (VOLVb.ST) Nova -- said gasoline prices rose in late February and early March and that passenger footfall in transit systems had risen slightly, according to American Public Transportation Association.
While certain transit grants were removed or reduced for transit agencies in the United States, the main budget categories from which transit bus procurements are funded were largely left intact at 2010 levels, New Flyer said in a statement.
Orders in the first quarter ended April 3, rose 39 percent, while deliveries inched up 3 percent, it reported. In late March, the company had forecast a 13.5 percent fall in total deliveries for the year.
The value of the orders rose to $93 million from $66 million last year. The level of aftermarket parts order beat the orders it got in each of the previous three quarters, the company said.
Backlog at the end of first quarter fell 4 percent sequentially and clean propulsion vehicles made up more than two-thirds of the total.
The company's shares, largely unchanged since its warning in late March, were halted at C$10.36 an hour before the scheduled close of trade Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)