Buses for NJTransit ?>

Buses for NJTransit

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.  The board of NJTransit approved the purchase of 772 new buses at its meeting of 15 July 2015.  In July 2016, Governor Chris Christie halted acquisitions of these buses while financing problems with the state’s Transportation Trust Fund are resolved.  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.  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.  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.  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 state’s Transportation Trust Fund.  In records provided to nj.com, the line item for buses which was still labelled “772 Cruiser Bus Replacements” but the amount had increased to $712,700,000.00.  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.  At that time, the total allocated to bus purchases was $583,659,204.15.  How this number was derived is unclear.  By July, the commitment to MCI had risen to $712 million.  It was number one on the list of projects Christie shut down on 7 July for at least a week.  MCI of Schaumberg IL, builds buses specific to the needs of its customers, basically one at a time.  A week’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.  The federal government subsidizes bus replacement after twelve years.  Australia and Canada have found that buses can be operated economically for twenty.  This analysis assumes that capital and operating costs are similarly account for by NJTransit, which they are not.

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