DRT Takes Delivery of New Buses

WHITBY, ON, February 10, 2012 –  Durham Region Transit has received15 new conventional 12-m buses and eight Specialized Service buses purchased through the Metrolinx Transit Procurement Initiative.
The Metrolinx initiative sponsors a working group consisting of members 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. The process is overseen by a Fairness Commissioner retained by Metrolinx.  The group volume purchase power and commonality of specifications expedites the procurement process and lowers per unit cost to each transit property.
“When we find an efficient and effective way to stretch a taxpayer’s dollar, it’s good news.  Today is all about value for taxpayers so it’s a great day for our residents here in Durham and for transit systems across the Province. DRT has purchased a total of 68 buses in total from three vendors and saved taxpayers over $900,000 through the Metrolinx Transit Procurement Initiative,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Durham Region Transit Commission.
"Metrolinx is pleased to be partnering with Durham Region to improve transit services to residents", said Metrolinx President and CEO, Bruce McCuaig, "Pooling our buying power means that we can get better value for the taxpayers money, while improving comfort, reliability and service for customers".
The Metrolinx program is a multi-year initiative. DRT has participated since 2006 with the 12-m conventional bus purchase program. Other participating municipal transit agencies include Hamilton, York, London, Windsor, Barrie, Oakville, North Bay, Orillia, Kingston, Collingwood, Burlington, Welland, St. Catharines and Milton.  The most recent contract to manufacture the 12-m conventional bus was awarded to New Flyer Industries Limited, Winnipeg. To date DRT has purchased 58 New Flyer buses with this process, another eight buses are expected to arrive later in 2012.
In 2008, the Metrolinx program was expanded to include the 9-m (30 foot) community bus and subsequently in 2010, the specialized transit bus. Crestline Coach Limited supplies the specialized units assembled by Goshen Coach.  Eight new specialized units were purchased and recently put into service. The contract to supply a community bus product was awarded to City View Bus and Truck Repair and Sales Limited which markets the Eldorado EZ Rider II model.
One Eldorado unit was purchased and delivered in 2009 and another unit in 2010, two units are pending delivery later in 2012. The joint procurement process saves transit agencies approximately 4% per unit on both the community and specialized units.
“Fleet revitalization is a key factor in reducing and stabilizing maintenance costs as well as marketing a contemporary product to customers.  The recent acquisition has reduced the average age of the conventional fleet to 8.1 years. From the passenger perspective, newer vehicles enhance service reliability and comfort. The New Flyer Xcelsior bus is an air-conditioned, accessible low-floor model with ramp and ‘kneel’ functions. It is  fuel efficient, lighter in weight than its predecessor version, with four wheel disc brakes, an electrical cooling system and features the 2010 ‘clean diesel’ low emission engine,” said Peter Chatoff, Deputy General Manager Maintenance and Equipment, DRT.
The model complies with the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act (AODA) relating to ramp access, mobility aid securement and contrast of colour on surface edges.  It features a wider and less-steep ramp for easier boarding. The new conventional buses move DRT closer to a vision of a fully accessible conventional fleet in 2014 by allowing the retirement of nine non-accessible buses that have reached the end of their serviceable life. Six of the fifteen units will be deployed for service expansion. An additional eight units will arrive mid-2012 for further fleet replacement.
Continued revitalization of the DRT Specialized Services fleet is essential to customer satisfaction, safety and schedule adherence. Contemporary reliable equipment improves performance and reduces emissions. The new DRT Specialized Services buses comply with legislated standards and feature versatile easy to connect and release mobility device securement clips and straps. These new units feature an air suspension system for a more comfortable ride and versatile, yet consistent interior layout to optimize the capacity for ambulatory and mobility device passengers.  With their arrival, DRT will retire eight older units.
Oshawa Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki, Vice Chair of the Transit Executive Committee, Town of Ajax Councillor Shaun Collier, Town of Whitby Councillor Don Mitchell, Municipality of Clarington Councillor Mary Novak and Township of Scugog Councillor Bobbie Drew attended.
DRT operates over 410,500 service hours annually. Since inception in January 2006, DRT has revitalized its fleet with 92 accessible buses, has grown its fleet with 22 new, service expansion buses and increased ridership by 42.9%. DRT operates community bus services and 62 conventional routes serving all communities in Durham Region. With this delivery, the DRT conventional and community bus fleet totals 164 vehicles. The Specialized Services fleet comprises 30 vehicles.
For schedule and route information visit www.durhamregiontransit.com or call 1-866-247-0055.
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Media inquiries:
Susan Dickison, Communications Coordinator, DRT - 905-668-4113 ext. 3754
Malon Edwards, Media Relations, Metrolinx - 416-874-5945