They cost how much?
New Jersey Transit plans to replace its bus fleet, which for the most part was put into service between 2000 and 2008. Â The board of NJTransit approved the purchase of 772 new buses at its meeting of 15 July 2015. Â In July 2016, Governor Chris Christie halted acquisitions of these buses while financing problems with the stateâ€™s Transportation Trust Fund are resolved. Â What are these buses and how much do they cost?
NJTransit selected the MCI D4500 Cruiser, a 57 passenger bus, equipped with a 410 HP Cummins diesel engine and Allison B500 transmission. Â NJTransit buses are often described as the D4500CT hybrid, but the agency only plans 37 of this model costing $942,000 each in its entire fleet. Â The rest are conventional diesel.
The NJTransit Board in 2015 unanimously approved acquisition of 772 MCI Cruiser buses for $394,965,129.75, plus four percent for contingencies.Â That works out to $511,612.86 each, with $20,464.51 allowed for options and price increases.
A year later, in July 2016, Governor Christie stopped all nonessential transportation spending in anticipation of a shortfall in the stateâ€™s Transportation Trust Fund. Â In records provided to nj.com, the line item for buses which was still labelled â€œ772 Cruiser Bus Replacementsâ€ but the amount had increased to $712,700,000.00. Â The New Jersey Transit Board had approved purchase of an additional 332 buses at $500,739.89 each, plus an additional four percent ($30,029.60) for options and price increases. Â At that time, the total allocated to bus purchases was $583,659,204.15. Â How this number was derived is unclear. Â By July, the commitment to MCI had risen to $712 million. Â It was number one on the list of projects Christie shut down on 7 July for at least a week. Â MCI of Schaumberg IL, builds buses specific to the needs of its customers, basically one at a time. Â A weekâ€™s shutdown would likely delay delivery of five buses.
How long should buses last?
No one bothers to ask how long a bus can last in the service of a US public transit agency. Â The federal government subsidizes bus replacement after twelve years.Â Australia and Canada have found that buses can be operated economically for twenty. Â This analysis assumes that capital and operating costs are similarly account for by NJTransit, which they are not.