Swift Current's Tele Bus fleet is undergoing a change, with one bus being decommissioned and Swift Current City Council approving the purchase of two replacement units.
Council approved the purchase of two low floor mini buses from Crestline of Saskatoon at a cost of $297,415 in order to maintain the existing level of Tele Bus service in the city.
The City of Swift Current found themselves in need of a replacement after the premature structural failure of their newest bus in the fleet, a 2009 International/Champion Bus. The decommissioned bus, which suffered a frame failure, is being bought back by supplier Western Canada IC Bus at a cost of $105,000.
Council approved the purchase of a 2010 Arboc "Spirit of Mobility" bus, which has been used as a demo unit, at a cost of $152,990. They will also be purchasing from Crestline a 2012 Arboc "Spirit of Freedom" bus at a cost of $144,425, with a six month delivery period.
The oldest vehicle in Swift Current's fleet, a 1997 Navistar/Thomas bus, had been used as back-up unit, but it is now being temporarily used as a primary vehicle. The City's intends to retire this bus at the end of the year as it will no longer be able to pass certification as a result of the age and condition of the now 15 year old bus. The third bus in the city fleet will be a 2003 Thomas Commercial bus.
The Spirit of Mobility has the added feature of having an air suspension, kneeling system, but this feature will not be utilized because of the high city curbs along the existing transportation routes.
Council members asked Director of Engineering Mac Forster to provide a series of details about the buses, including mileage, warranty, and the original asking price of the demo unit.
Mayor Jerrod Schafer noted that having a reliable fleet of buses is an important part of the Tele Bus system.
"We are getting a couple of new, higher quality buses than the service that we've got, and we continue to strive towards a better busing and public transit system in our community, which is top of mind in Swift Current these days and something that I think we can work to to enhance things for our community."
With the City scheduled to receive the Transportation Master Plan recommendations in the coming week, he notes there is a larger role for transportation in Swift Current.
"There's been a lot of discussion about Public Transit, safe travel in our community. We continue to be a community with a growing immigrant population," Schafer said. "Something that I often hear is (the need for) better, more reliable Public Transit. The Tele Bus is a unique system, but it certainly, I don't think, accomplishes the need that a growing community needs. In some of the discussions I had with our transportation consultants, we're certainly looking at a hybrid model or a main bus route and then extensions off of that."