Purchase of 10 new buses on Wichita City Council’s agenda

07/07/2014 10:58 AM

08/06/2014 12:19 PM

Want a 300,000-mile powertrain warranty on your next vehicle?

Buy a city bus.

The Wichita City Council is expected to sign a contract with the Hayward, Calif.-based Gillig Corp. for at least 10 and as many as 60 new buses in the next five years to replace aging coaches in the transit fleet.

The total cost of bus replacement and possible expansion is expected to be between $21 million and $24 million.

The city operates a fleet of 56 buses and street trolleys, 35 of which are more than 12 years old, according to a city report.

The bus buying will start with 10 buses for delivery next year and an option to buy 50 more at the same price, just under $400,000 each for 35- to 40-foot diesel buses or about $440,000 for natural-gas powered coaches.

The warranty: a year or 50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five years or 300,000 miles on the engine and transmission; 12 years or 500,000 miles for corrosion and structural integrity.

City Manager Bob Layton said the contract doesn’t require Wichita to actually buy any buses beyond the first 10, but it does lock in the prices for the next five years as a hedge against inflation.

Federal transportation grants will pay for 83 percent of the cost and city bonds will pay for the remaining 17 percent, the city report said.

The contract and the authorization to issue bonds to pay for it are likely to pass Tuesday with little, if any, comment from the council.

Both items are on the council’s consent agenda, items that are considered routine and grouped together to be passed on a single vote without discussion.

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