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Wednesday, 11 July 2012 10:33

Two new vehicles for Swift Current bus service

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The City of Swift Current has to replace two vehicles from its Tel-a-Bus fleet due to the structural failure of a new unit and the age of another one.

Councillors approved the purchase of two low-floor minibuses at a total cost of $297,415 during their regular council meeting on July 9.
Director of Engineering Mac Forster said only one vehicle was scheduled to be replaced in the City's 2012 capital budget.
“Unfortunately since the capital budget one of the other units has failed and was permanently taken out of service,” he explained. “So there was a need to have a replacement for that unit as well.”
The City's two newer units – a 2009 International/Champion bus and a 2003 Thomas Commercial bus – have been in consistent use while the older 1997 Navistar/Thomas bus has been used as a back-up unit. But that all changed due to the premature structural failure of the 2009 vehicle, which has been taken out of service.
“It had some structural failure on it that we felt, and so did the supplier, was just beyond repair and the best solution would be to take it out of service,” he said.
The bus was originally purchased at a cost of $186,821. The City accepted the offer by the supplier, Western Canada IC Bus, to buy back the unit for an amount of $105,000.
While the 1997 unit has been pushed back into full-time service, the City's service garage has indicated  this will be the final year that the Navistar bus will pass certification due to its age and condition.
The Tel-a-Bus service continues to operate without any disruption, but the withdrawal of the 2009 unit means there is no back-up vehicle.
“I guess the threat would be that one of the units goes down and we would be one bus short,” Forster said.
But one of the replacement vehicles is available immediately. The City will purchase the 2010 Arboc “Spirit of Mobility” demonstration unit at a price of $152,990. This unit includes an air suspension and kneeling system, a feature that is not present on the 2012 Arboc “Spirit of Freedom” that will be purchased at a cost of $144,425. The new vehicle has a delivery time of six months.
The City is currently developing a new hybrid style public transit system that will include a fixed bus route along with the Tel-a-Bus service. The two units that will be purchased now is solely for use on the Tel-a-Bus service.
“The fixed route bus will be a larger unit that looks a little more in keeping with a transit bus,” Forster said. “ That's another issue that we'll be considering in the near future with City council.”

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