TransLink is looking to purchase at least 45 new forty foot (40’) low-floor conventional buses, according to a request for proposal. They will be propelled by compressed natural gas (CNG) or diesel.
The request outlines two different purchase scenarios.
The first scenario is a three-year fixed requirement calling for 45 buses to be delivered by December 2014, an additional 51 by December 2015 and 84 by December 2016, for a total of 180 buses. The second scenario is a one-year fixed requirement for 45 buses with options for 51 and 84 additional vehicles in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
TransLink will, at its complete discretion, determine the length of commitment (three year fixed or one year fixed plus option years) for this project based upon funding availability, negotiation of pricing, scheduling for subsequent years and the Contractor’s capacity to fulfill the specifications as identified.
TransLink asks the buses to have air conditioning, touch bars on the rear doors, USSC Aries 4MA seats, Axion or Luminator destination signs, a minimum seating capacity of 36 and total capacity of 77 passengers and be designed for a service life of 17 years or one million kilometres. There is a preference for perimeter seating at the rear.
Bus manufacturers New Flyer Industries and Nova Bus are both expected to submit bids. TransLink currently has both New Flyer’s Xcelsior and the Nova LFS in service.
One of the main complaints about the Nova LFS has been its face-to-face seats over the rear wheel with little leg room. It has led to an uncomfortable ride and some passengers to rest their feet on the seats. This seating arrangement was removed when Nova Bus revamped its design in 2012. A three-person side bench now takes its place.
TransLink recently completed a purchase of 25 sixty-foot articulated diesel-electric hybrid buses and 17 forty-foot diesel buses from New Flyer.
Fleet renewal is a necessary expense in maintaining a healthy transportation system, according to TransLink.
Vehicles that continue to operate beyond the end of their economic lives have higher emissions, fuel consumption, maintenance and operating costs. Replacing these vehicles will offer operational savings through avoided incremental costs and will reduce emissions, breakdowns and downtime and improve customer service with greater reliability and environmentally cleaner vehicles.
The company’s 1995 and 1996 New Flyer D40LF buses have reached the end of it’s service life and the 1998 D40LFs will reach the end of their service life in 2015.
TransLink has set aside $34 million in its 2013 budget for fleet renewal. The 2013 Base Plan and Outlook projects the transportation authority will need $192 million to renew 282 conventional buses between 2013 and 2015.
Much of the new bus purchases will be funded through the federal gas tax. The last purchase was 90% paid for through the tax with the rest coming from TransLink’s capital expenditures budget. However, Metro Vancouver mayors have threatened to divert gas tax revenue away from TransLink as a way to pressure the province to change the way the authority is governed.
Image: Dennis Tsang/Flickr