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Metrolinx helps municipalities buy buses

Metrolinx has partnered with 12 Ontario municipalities and their transit systems to help buy 271 new, clean diesel transit buses and 16 diesel-electric hybrid buses. All vehicles will be fully accessible.

Manufacturers will deliver the 12-metre buses over three years, from 2011 to 2013, for a total order value of about $114 million. Municipalities and their transit service providers who participated in the joint bus order are saving about $10.9 million.

The partnership increases buying power and, in turn, decreases costs to municipalities and transit riders. To make the initiative work, Metrolinx sponsors a working group with representatives from transit agencies across Ontario. Taking advantage of the technical expertise of all participating transit agencies, the group establishes common specifications to develop a single bid opportunity for vendors. Metrolinx retains a fairness commissioner to oversee the process. The group’s volume purchase power and commonality of specifications speeds up the process of buying new buses and and lowers the cost of each unit to each transit agency.

This year, the 12 participating transit systems are Barrie Transit, Burlington Transit, Durham Region Transit, the Hamilton Street Railway, Kingston Transit, the London Transit Commission, Milton Transit, North Bay Transit, the St. Catharines Transit Commission, Welland Transit, Windsor Transit and York Region Transit.

The 2011 order is worth about $30 million and includes 66 clean diesel and seven diesel-electric hybrid buses that will arrive in March 2012. The joint procurement also includes an option for future orders in 2012 and 2013 for the remaining 214 buses.

The clean diesel buses that manufacturers will deliver in 2011 will cost the municipalities and transit service providers nine per cent less than the ones they received in 2010 through a previous Metrolinx procurement. For the diesel electric hybrid bus order, the 2011 prices are 24 per cent lower. Through this contract, the municipalities are acquiring clean diesel buses procured that will be as much as 15 per cent more fuel-efficient, thanks to new electrical accessories and lighter weights.

Metrolinx’ Transit Procurement Initiative helps small and medium-sized Ontario municipalities save money by reducing unit costs through higher volume purchases and performance-based specifications. This avoids duplicate procurement costs and improves product quality and value for money.

This joint order complies with the Government of Ontario’s Canadian Content for Transit Vehicle Procurement Policy which sets a minimum standard of 25 per cent Canadian content for 12-metre transit buses.