Replacement of APS-1 buses
Montréal, December 4, 2008 –Members of the board of directors awarded a supply contract for 410 low-floor buses to Novabus in St. Eustache. The order follows a public tender in April 2008, that was authorized by Transports Québec, for the purpose of replacing APS-1 buses before term (16 years), purchased in 1996, 1997 and 1998, that present serious reliability problems, and which could not be corrected, despite much effort these past few years. Indeed, their mean distance between failures (MDBF) shows they were two and a half times less reliable than vehicles from other series and that, in 2007, they accounted for more than 36% of reported problems.
The STM had in fact sent out two invitations to tender. The first involved a traditional type of bus procurement, while the second was for an eight-year lease, after which the vehicles would be replaced by new ones. The STM wanted to explore that market in order to ensure it had a fleet of reliable vehicles to deliver service to transit users. Volvo Financial Services was the only company to submit a bid, but it was not competitive. “We were surprised to find out that companies who had shown interest last spring did not answer our invitation. We realize the economic context is different and that it is not currently favourable for implementing such an approach. But this is only a postponement,” declared STM chaiman, Claude Trudel.
“The good news is that the STM will be disposing of its APS 1 buses according to the following calendar: 70 buses in 2009, another 210 buses in 2010, and 130 more in 2011. If we add up the regular deliveries of standard buses to the articulated buses that will soon arrive, we are talking about an acquisition of some 214 buses in 2009, of 437 in 2010, and a total of 317 in 2011. This is something for clients to cheer about, because we will be able to add hours of service, thereby meeting the increase in ridership we measured in 2008, an exceptional year with 15 million additional rides,” indicated Mr. Trudel.
In addition to being more reliable, the new buses include noteworthy improvements: they are made of stainless steel instead of soft steel; they are equiped with a particle filter, making them much less polluting; they also come equiped with a foldover ramp that unfolds from the front door, a proven technology already in use in Vancouver, among others; they also have on-board cameras to help improve the feeling of security. It should also mentioned that the warranty period for these new buses is much longer than before, which goes to show how confident the manufacturer is about their product.
The contract sets the price for each of the 410 new buses at $469 700, which compares favourably with the current contract. It also calls for the buy back by Novabus of 410 APS-1 vehicles for $30 000 each, which is a good offer, considering that scrapping them altogether would only bring in about $3000 per bus. So the STM will pay $439 700 to purchase the new bus, a contract worth more than $219 M, 50% of which will be financed by the MTQ.
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