Conway, S.C.-based Coast RTA's board of directors approved the purchase of up to 10 buses from the Dallas Area Regional Transit (DART) agency, which may begin serving passengers as early as mid-July.
Coast RTA board of directors met via conference call for a special called meeting on Friday, June 12 ultimately giving GM Brian Piascik permission to purchase up to 10 buses from DART. Following unanimous approval to move forward with the tiered purchase, plans were discussed to purchase the initial four to five buses during Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 with the second round of buses potentially purchased in FY2016 by August/September 2015.
"I've ridden these buses. I know exactly what we're getting here and I'm not worried at all," Piascik told the board of directors regarding the purchase of the DART buses.
Piascik stated benefits of the selected buses include their being used in the drier southwest climate, which better preserves the chassis/floor of the buses; and, that a large number of miles on the buses are highway miles, which are better for the buses than city stop/start mileage.
Formal RFP's were not issued for these buses due to their already being purchased with Federal monies. Therefore, they cannot be re-procured. Coast RTA will be paying DART for their local equity in the buses purchased and acquiring the Federal equity that remains on each bus. In researching available buses across the U.S., Piascik used his connections with DART as an option as DART is moving toward replacing its entire fleet with compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
Coast RTA has identified 16 buses in its fleet for its disposal list that range in age from 1998 to 2011. Varying mechanical issues have caused these buses to be placed on this list.
In reviewing the DART buses, the 2003 NABI buses average 329,000 miles; however, they all have received mid-life engine overhauls, which average less than 85,000 miles. The purchase price for the initial four to five buses and a new set of commercial Goodyear tires for each is estimated at $44,610. In addition, should parts be needed, Coast RTA and DART have negotiated a $100,000 credit on spare parts for the 10 buses. Piascik has assigned $15,000 for used parts in the initial purchase.
The remaining balance of the $77,659.87 will be allocated to travel of the five staff members to pick up the buses, fuel for cross-country travel, title transfer/registration fees, and new paint of the buses once on-site.