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Prince Albert, SK. Transit


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A report regarding transit bus purchases was presented to City council last week and recommends the purchase of 2 40' Nova LFS and 3 35' Vicinity buses (with option to purchase 2 additional units once

Been doing a bit of research this morning into why 7 Vicinity buses showed up in Prince Albert compared to the results of the RFP that @Silly Tilley posted in 2016. It appears the original RFP pr

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A report regarding transit bus purchases was presented to City council last week and recommends the purchase of 2 40' Nova LFS and 3 35' Vicinity buses (with option to purchase 2 additional units once funding is approved). The current plan is to order diesel buses however there could be a decision to change to CNG buses once the lifecycle costs have been determined. Staff also indicated a preference for Stainless steel frames to help with lifecycle costs. Bold indicates the recommended options.

30' buses (not being purchased)

Vicinity 30' - $359,500 (stainless steel frame $379,500)

New Flyer Midi 30' - $385,558

5 35' buses

New Flyer Midi 35' - $397,790

Vicinity 35' - $399,000 (stainless steel frame $421,000) August 2017 delivery

2 40' buses

New Flyer Xcelsior diesel - $499,863

New Flyer Xcelsior CNG - $535,897

Nova LFS diesel - $529,733, May 2017 delivery

Nova LFS CNG - $650,709

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For the 40' buses, the recommendation is that the contract be awarded to Nova Bus, even though the base (diesel) price is $30,000 more than New Flyer. This is due to the preference for a stainless steel frame and the concern about corrosion on the New Flyer. It notes that New Flyer offers a stainless steel frame but would make it significantly more expensive.

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The structure is the main difference. Nova Bus has a stainless steel frame and body structure with polymer and fiberglass exterior panels to prevent corrosion and to give it an eighteen year life rating . New Flyer has a small amount of stainless steel in the frame, but the majority is a carbon steel frame and all carbon steel in the body structure with fiberglass exterior panels, with a projected life of 12 years . The diesel New Flyer is $29,870 less than the Nova bus in the base RFP, These prices are all based on the standard RFP and will change if additional changes are made to any design in the bus . Both 40' buses . proposed are very comparable except for the corrosion resistance and structural life, with the Nova Bus having 1/3 more potential life due to its stainless steel structure . We felt that this far outweighed the cost difference and it is therefore the reason we have recommended the Nova 40' bus as the 40' bus of choice. 

The reference check on the Forty foot buses gave excellent feedback for Nova Bus. The main issue with the Flyer buses is frame corrosion starting at about ten years of service and by 12 years have to be pulled from service. Mechanically the Flyer is fine with good product support. New Flyer does offer a stainless frame and structure like Nova Bus, but it makes the Flyer about $70,000 more to purchase than a Nova Bus. Product support was rated higher on the Nova Bus in all but one user who only runs New Flyer

For the 35' buses Grande West was the recommended supplier despite a slightly higher cost over New Flyer Midi because of preference for stainless steel frame, longer history in service, more positive feedback from agencies, CNG option available in 2017.

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Pricing was close with the 30' Vicinity costing $26,058 less than the 30' New Flyer MIDI and the 35' New Flyer Midi was $1,210 less than the Vicinity for the 35'. Again the main difference is the frame and structure. Both use carbon steel but the Vicinity has a galvanized structure and frame to help prevent corrosion. There is however an option with the Vicinity Buses to have a stainless steel frame for an additional $22,000. Administration would recommend this addition as it will extend the life of the bus significantly and is well worth the additional cost.

There are not many MIDI buses in service in Canada where there are quite a few Vicinity's in service and on order. The Vicinity fared the best in the reference check for the 30'· and 35' buses. There was one user in Canada that I was able to get ahold of that uses the New Flyer MIDI and rates them as ok. Most users of the Vicinity have tried and demoed both the Vicinity and MIDI and ended up choosing the Vicinity. All users of the Vicinity like the buses and would purchase more. They also said the Vicinity is more like a heavy duty bus than the MIDI.

BC Transit which runs about 1100 buses of all sizes run 15 Vicinity buses currently, and have an order for 41 more Vicinity buses and plan on purchasing up to 200. They claim a 30% reduction in operating costs in their Vicinity buses verses the 40' buses.

In summary, Prince Albert will be receiving 2 40' Nova buses and 5 35' Vicinity buses.

The report is available starting page 70 at http://citypa.ca/Portals/0/B_and_C/Executive/Agenda/2016 08 15 - Agenda1.pdf and includes a detailed evaluation matrix. 

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If I understand this correctly, the City of PA is buying the buses for First Canada to operate.  This should upgrade PAT's fleet significantly, give the City greater control over the type and condition of vehicles used and improve the quality of service.  They will no longer be dependent upon First Canada's assignment of used vehicles from other cities in random liveries.

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Been doing a bit of research this morning into why 7 Vicinity buses showed up in Prince Albert compared to the results of the RFP that @Silly Tilley posted in 2016.

It appears the original RFP proposed two 40 foot buses and either 30 or 35 foot buses. The two 40 foot buses were to operate on the busiest routes (All Day and East Flat), which was noted in the staff report that peak ridership on those routes was approaching the maximum capacity of a 35 foot bus. I guess the Executive Committee balked at the cost, and they asked staff to report back with a full system review.

A second staff report to Council came forward in October 2016. Two options were proposed: order seven 35 foot Vicinity buses and combine routes to reduce fleet requirement, or the original option of two 40 foot and five 35 foot buses. Either option would have three of the 35 foot buses paid for through federal PTIF funding. A third option recommended that if a full 35 foot fleet was purchased and the same route system was kept, that an additional 35 foot bus be added as a cover vehicle for overloads. Not surprisingly, Council went with the seven 35 foot bus option. This decision resulted in the elimination of the 15th Street Shuttle route.

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