They came in handy, especially during summertime when seasonal workers without personal transportation boarded buses to get to places such as Cedar Point or Kalahari Resort. But the buses, in which city officials leased for $100 a year, broke down far too often.
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With at least 600,000 miles on each bus, the steep costs for constant upkeep on them didn’t make fiscal sense. So administrators ditched the larger buses this past fall and now strictly run their eight- and 16-person vehicles on these routes. One problem persists: So many people board these buses that administrators need to schedule two vehicles, one immediately tailing the other, so everyone can hitch a ride. With two vehicles essentially covering one route, additional fuel, manpower and other costs — such as another vehicle logging more miles — now occur. Administrators believe they need to bring back bigger buses in hopes of accommodating public transportation efforts.
They’re in talks with Cincinnati representatives to purchase buses, capable of seating 35 people, with about 400,000 miles on them. The cost to own them is between $1,700 to $2,500. They believe bigger buses could save a considerable amount of money.
To support the region’s leading public transportation operation, Erie County commissioners directed $46,000 from their budget so Sandusky Transit can acquire four new 16-person buses. The remaining cost for these four buses, totaling about $233,000, derives from a state grant. Expected to arrive later this year, the buses should replace four older buses in Sandusky Transit’s fleet.
When this occurs, Sandusky Transit will then own 16 of the 24 buses in its fleet. The rest are owned by a company contracting with Sandusky Transit providing vehicles. Owning a bus, as opposed to leasing or borrowing them, saves money in the long run. For instance, city officials can decide when they want to sell or get rid of a bus at their choosing.