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CC Rider to add new buses to fleet

Two new buses will replace worn out models


CC Rider is slated to add two new buses to its fleet.

The Columbia County Board of Commissioners approved two purchase orders Wednesday — one for a 28-30 passenger bus, and another for a 14-16 passenger bus, each with capacity to accommodate up to two wheelchairs.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A CC Rider bus waits at a stoplight in Scappoose during a routine route. The bus agency is slated to get two new buses, one of which will offer easier access to riders in wheelchairs.The larger bus will cost about $105,500, while the smaller one, which offers greater wheelchair accessibility, comes with a price tag of $132,120. Grant funding will pay for all but 10 percent of the costs, according to Janet Wright, director of CC Rider.

Every two years, CC Rider applies for grant funding for the purchase of buses.

In the transit world, vehicles have a short lifespan, Wright explained.

“There’s a useful life chart, where [Oregon Department of Transportation] not only wants us to, but they strongly urge us to keep applying for new buses because at some point, the maintenance and repair costs outweigh the cost of new buses.”

Wright said buses usually have about 400,000 to 450,000 miles on the odometers before they are replaced.

“We try to make some pretty good educated guesses about whether the bus can make it another five years or 100,000 miles,” Wright said. “We try to have a few spares on hand, so that when something goes down, we can maybe use the other bus.”

According to the transit agency, there are currently 29 buses in the CC Rider fleet.

ODOT’s useful life standards indicate medium size, medium duty transit buses with 16 to 30 passenger seats typically have a seven-year, or 200,000-mile useful life minimum. Medium size, heavy-duty transit buses that typically seat up to 35

people are expected to be

used for 10 years, or 350,000 miles.

CC Rider applies for federal funding to pay for most of the cost of the new vehicles, through a pass-through grant program under the Federal Transit Administration. The funds are administered by ODOT.

In this case, CC Rider will have to pay for a little more than 10 percent of the pur-chase costs, with grant funds covering the rest, Wright

said.

One of the new buses will offer easier access to passengers with disabilities.

“We’re getting some special things on ... the 14 to 16 passenger bus that will help us with the demand response service,” Wright explained, noting the new bus will be equipped with a kneeling ramp, allowing easier wheelchair access from an area near the front of the bus.

It’s unclear when CC Rider will receive the new buses, or when they’ll be put into service.