Transit routes restored, says City

Herald File Photo

Local Journalism Initiative

All transit routes are now in full operation after months of disruptions caused by physical issues with the fleet.

The City is still using temporary buses but says that warranty work on the fleet is scheduled for mid-December.

“We are extremely disappointed to be in this position,” said Mayor Greg Dionne. “We purchased a fleet of buses from a company that serves major cities through the US and Canada. It’s an unfortunate position, but we are working through the process to get the buses repaired and back in service.”

The fleet was pulled in April 2021 after cracks were discovered in the frames of the buses. The seven buses had been purchased brand new in January 2018.

The buses were partially paid for with federal government funding of $614,000 but the City footed the rest of the $3.34 million costs with payments stretched out over the 15 year lifespan of the machines.

When the cracks were discovered, the city found temporary used buses as alternatives but some route disruptions happened.

Those disruptions in the schedule have now been resolved.

“I apologize to our transit users for the disruption in services that have occurred from time to time since April,” said Dionne. “This temporary solution is not ideal but with a shortage of buses it was difficult to find replacement options.  We have left no stone unturned to find the buses we now have in place to service all of our routes.”

New heaters and security cameras were installed on the temporary busses along with City GPS monitors so riders could check the location of the buses online.

The City has been pursuing a warranty claim on the vehicles.  

Independent inspections were done to confirm the cause of the cracks and the City has now received conformation from Vicinity Buses that repairs can happen in the middle of this month.

“With the repair schedule in hand, we will be in a better position to share a time frame for the buses to be back on the road,” said Dionne.

The replacement fleet will soon be bolstered by three transit buses on loan from Vicinity Bus while they are working on the plan to repair the main fleet.