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'Dead' buses bound for Sarasota County

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 15, 2012
  • Sarasota
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Sarasota County will buy five 15-ton buses for $5 total, if the Federal Transit Administration approves a purchase contract with Palm Beach County.

New buses manufactured by Gillig LLC, the manufacturer of the Palm Beach buses, can cost as much as $400,000, but the contract, approved by the Sarasota County Commission Nov. 13, sets the price at $1 each.

The vehicles have logged at least 500,000 miles each and are considered past their “serviceable life,” by FTA standards. Palm Tran, the public transit entity in Palm Beach County, listed the decade-old buses as surplus for sale earlier this year.

Palm Beach County mainly used the Gillig fleet Sarasota County wants to purchase on the highway, and the buses are in good serviceable condition, according to a Nov. 13 memo to county commissioners.

“Palm Tran has a reputation in the state of Florida among all transit agencies for having an elite maintenance program,” said Sarasota County Area Transit General Manager Glama Carter.

During budget workshops this spring, county staff highlighted the need for more buses to bolster the ratio of replacement buses to minimize route service interruptions. The Palm Tran buses would bring SCAT’s fleet to 126.

The County Commission approved the addition of three full-time, and one part-time bus operators in the 2013 fiscal year budget this summer, along with two contracts totaling $130,000 for bus replacement parts.

The Palm Beach County Commission in 2010 approved a new revenue item for the Palm Tran budget to track sale of surplus equipment ahead of plans to sell 45 surplus buses in the subsequent two years.

The county has $5 available in the 2013 fiscal-year budget to pay for the bus purchase, which will also include an undetermined amount to ship the buses to the area.




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