New school buses to freshen up SD62 fleet

Six new vehicles to be road-ready in spring of 2015 in Sooke School District

New buses are coming to the Sooke School District.

Six new vehicles will take to the roads around the West Shore and Sooke starting in spring of 2015, after the province announced School District 62’s request of $877,759 for updating its fleet had been approved.

“We have an 18-bus fleet and it’s important to replenish that on a ongoing basis,” said Harold Cull, secretary treasurer for the district. “(By adding) new vehicles and new technology, (we) maintain the safety of the bus fleet for the district.”

Cull said a combination of age and mileage were factors in the move to replace six older buses. He added the funding comes at a great time and is exactly what they needed.

The Ministry of Education’s fleet renewal program now works with the Association of School Transportation Services of B.C. to negotiate the purchase of buses.

It uses the Standing Offer Pricing model, which replaced the scenario where negotiating individually with bus providers was the job of each school district.

“It’s great news anytime we can get capital funding to enhance our infrastructure or assets. We’ll take that,” Cull said. “It give a great benefit to the funding to get six new buses in one year. It’ll reduce the average age of our fleet and we’re pretty happy we’re able to get this.”

School districts across the province own and operate more than 1,000 buses, with an average cost of $146,293. Districts spend approximately $90 million annually on transporting students.

A total of $9 million was doled out to 22 school districts for the purchase of 76 new buses across the province in the latest funding announcement.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com