Whitehorse Daily Star

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Pictured above: RICHARD GRAHAM

Council advised to purchase six new buses

City administration is recommending council approve the purchase of six new full-length, low-floor buses in the next three years.

By Chuck Tobin on December 4, 2019

City administration is recommending council approve the purchase of six new full-length, low-floor buses in the next three years.

Funding for the first four in the amount of $2.2 million has already been approved by the federal funding source, the Canada Infrastructure Program.

Administration is recommending the contract be awarded to Nova Bus, a division of Volvo Canada.

Nova Bus and one other company were the only two that responded to the request for proposals put out in September. The one submitted by the other company did not meet the conditions of the RFP.

Council is being asked to approve the purchase of two buses under this year’s capital budget for $1.08 million, and two more under the 2020 capital budget for the same price.

The proposed purchase of the fifth and sixth buses in 2021 for $1.08 million is subject to approval of the 2021 capital budget. No funding source has been identified for the 2021 purchase.

The six new diesel-powered buses are required to replace six of the 13 Nova buses in the existing fleet, council was told.

Richard Graham, the city’s manager of operations, told council if the purchases are approved, delivery time is usually about 10 months, putting the arrival of the first four buses at the beginning of next winter.

Asked about the possibility of switching to electric buses, Graham said they are currently in discussions with the Yukon government to look at the feasibility. It’s expected a report will be put out in 2020, with a draft available in the early part of next year.

He said given the discussion about the feasibility, the electrical infrastructure required to recharge and determining whether electric buses are fit for the North, the decision is still about five years out.

But Nova does sell full-size electric buses, he said.

Graham said the design specifications for the new buses do include the ability to accommodate wide-tire bicycles on the bike racks. The current city buses do not.

Also on Monday, council was presented with a proposed contract award for the installation of hardware to facilitate electronic payment by passengers.

The system would also allow transit users to track the location of their bus in real time while it’s en route.

Administration is recommending the three-year, $181,400-contract for installation and maintenance of the system be awarded to Doublemap Inc., an American company.

One other company bid, but its proposal was not compliant with the request for proposals, says the administrative report.

Council will vote Monday on the proposed contract award.

Funding is expected to be provided by the federal Gas Tax Fund.

Comments (15)

Up 0 Down 1

Tater on Dec 10, 2019 at 3:56 pm

WOW, what an interesting way to spend TAXPAYERS money. I read a number of years ago of a city that did a study of their transit system. The results were to cancel bus routes that the bus ran less than 25% full and reduce by half the times on routes with less than 50% ridership.

And don't forget, user pay. TAXPAYERS should not have to bear the cost.

Up 21 Down 2

Boyd Campbell on Dec 6, 2019 at 11:37 pm

COW you're the laughing stock of the territory on this one. Re-think this NOW!!

Up 10 Down 19

Derp on Dec 6, 2019 at 6:16 pm


There are already electric cars running just fine here in the Yukon. You may also be interested to know that the world isn’t flat.

Up 43 Down 1

Obi on Dec 6, 2019 at 7:17 am

“Follow the bouncing Hypocritical BS ball”

Terr Govt. declares climate emergency, blah, blah, blah. City of Whitehorse declares climate emergency, blah,blah,blah. Carbon tax, blah blah,blah.
City to buy 6 more diesel belching monster buses to transport 5 or 6 people per trip around town, what!!!!!!
Politics, I always thought was the second oldest profession. The more I see of it, the more I think it is starting to resemble the first profession........

Up 34 Down 4

Obi on Dec 6, 2019 at 2:31 am

Where is Greta Thunderberg when you need her?

I would have thought our school teachers would have had the kids out for a free day to walk the streets of Whitehorse, to protest the new diesel bus purchase.
Where is the climate change fury gone?
I guess it’s tough to get the kiddies fired up to, fight the greenie fight, when it’s not plus 20 out.

“No thanks teacher, I’ll just stay here in my nice warm, dirty oil heated school. Maybe next May!” “ Tell Greta we still care though”.

Up 40 Down 1

Mick on Dec 5, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Where is Steve 'Chicken Little' Roddick? Only weeks after declaring a Climate Change Emergency (which I don't deny) he's ordering up some shiny new diesel buses. Hypocrite much?

Up 44 Down 1

Obi on Dec 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm

“Help me baby Jesus, help me Oprah Winfrey, help me anybody”

Is there anybody in the City of Whitehorse that has ever had a job in the real world? You know the one where you don’t buy something unless you can afford it!
“Jeesus, Mary, and Joseph” . Get a grip! The City collects nothing in fares compared to what it costs to run one of the diesel guzzling behemoths that they have now. Show some common sense and get vehicles that at least look like there are a few people in them.

Why a town of 35,000 people need to have the same monsters that operate in Cities of 500,000 I will never understand. At least show the outside world of Canada, that sends us all these transfer payments, that we are trying to use their money wisely...Now, where’s my liquor cabinet....

Up 29 Down 8

Matthew on Dec 5, 2019 at 6:43 am

Electric buses or vehicles have NO place in Yukon.. has anyone used batteries at -30? Correct.. they don't work..

Up 31 Down 0

Olav on Dec 4, 2019 at 10:15 pm

So....the fat tire bike warriors need wide tire racks. No problem..we will buy new buses to accommodate that!
It's a bike..ride it..

I agree with Beaker.. we could easily make do with shuttle type vehicles. For the most part, from what I can see, we could get by with a VW Beetle!

Up 27 Down 0

Brent on Dec 4, 2019 at 7:52 pm

The city isn't getting anywhere near the life out of these buses that they should be getting and at that they've only been packing about a 10% load so there should be lots of wear and tear left. This wouldn't be hard to check with simple odometer readings and a few phone calls to other jurisdictions. This is a smoke job.

Up 31 Down 0

Miles Epanhauser on Dec 4, 2019 at 7:26 pm

I like the shuttle bus idea.

Up 27 Down 0

drum on Dec 4, 2019 at 6:21 pm

Make them the way we did in the beginning with the Mini Bus Society (I was part of the Team/Board) we made the bus system happen for this town. Smaller is better.

Up 12 Down 16

Werner Rhein on Dec 4, 2019 at 6:20 pm

How about making these battery-electric buses? The time for diesel buses is over.
The City can't just declare a climate emergency and then keep on going as usual. Bla, bla, bla is not a solution.

Up 32 Down 2

Max Mack on Dec 4, 2019 at 5:25 pm

6 new buses? At a cost of over $3 million?? In a system that has had historic, major revenue shortfalls? Are you freaking kidding me?

To add insult to injury, they are already talking about electrifying their fleet - which will cost many, many millions of dollars more.
City of Whitehorse administration and council is out of touch with reality.

Up 62 Down 7

Beaker on Dec 4, 2019 at 4:24 pm

These buses are way overkill for who actually uses them it’s a ridiculous amount of money on the backs of the tax payers. Shuttle buses like those uses for hotels would be far cheaper initially and overall maintenance costs would be cut in half. To me it’s a no brainer.

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