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Electric buses cost millions more than budgeted

Oakville News. KA.
Oakville News. KA.

Oakville Transit’s first 15 full-size electric buses will cost $8.4 million more than budgeted.

The town was expecting to spend $15.4 million – or $1.02 million per bus – to add the new 40-foot battery electric buses to its fleet. But with a 55 per cent spike in the cost of the buses, that budget has ballooned to $23.8 million.

The budget for the buses was based on 2019 costs, which have increased due to inflation and supply chain pressures, explained Giancarlo Mirolla, Oakville Transit’s fleet and maintenance manager, in a report presented to the May 29 meeting of town council.

While funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program will cover 73 per cent of the 2019 price, the town is on the hook for the additional $560,000 per bus, Mirolla added.

However, he recommended moving ahead with the purchase anyway.

The new electric buses are intended to replace diesel buses that are at the end of their life. Keeping them on the road could cost an extra $75,000 a year in maintenance costs, he said.

Town councillors voted to approve the purchase, funding the additional costs from reserve funds.

The higher bus prices will force the town to revise its long-term budget, as it plans to replace 102 diesel buses with electric over the next 13 years.

The transition to electric buses, which requires new charging and energy infrastructure at Oakville Transit’s Wyecroft Road facility, will also be costly.

Earlier this year, the town signed long-term contracts to manage fleet electrification that will cost more than $100 million over the next 20 years.

Oakville Transit’s first 15 electric mini-buses arrived on the street this spring, in use for its care-A-van, Home to Hub and Ride-on-Demand services.