The interior of a used electric trolley bus Kyle might purchase from a transit authority in Mobile, AL. City of Kyle photos.
KYLE – Even if mass transit isn’t on the city’s priority list, Kyle officials might be motivated by a deal.
The city council gave the staff approval Tuesday night to pursue a purchase of four electrically powered buses that have been taken offline by The Wave Transit System in Mobile, AL. The staff will run inspections on the vehicles and try to iron out additional details before returning to the council for approval.
Assistant City Manager James Earp said he found a sweet deal for used electric buses while he happened to be browsing various municipal auction offerings to just to see what’s out there.
The electric buses caught his attention at $25,000 apiece, battery chargers included. Earp said the 2001 model buses sold for $305,000 new, plus $60,000 for a charger. Kyle could purchase four such buses, plus the chargers, and end up spending $128,000 after popping for the inspections and the vehicles’ transport into Kyle.
Once the buses are up and running, the operations costs for each would come to about $10,500 per year, Earp said.
The buses have trolley-style seating, featuring a wooden, backed bench that wraps around the inside of the cavity. Earp said the buses were taken offline in Mobile in the last couple years because Wave went to a new style of charger for its electric buses.
Earp said he put in a bid at the $25,000 reserve price for each bus. The reserve bid holds the price for a short period, but doesn’t obligate the city to pay it.
That will be a decision by the council, which will be charged with determining if the purchase is an impulsive boondoggle, or if it’s too good of a deal to pass up.
Councilmembers were intrigued by the idea, generally, but some said they would be happier if it hadn’t been sprung on them so quickly. The staff prepared information about the buses until shortly before Tuesday night’s meeting.
“We should stick with priorities that we’re sure will be used by regular citizens,” Councilmember Lucy Johnson said.
However, Councilmember David Wilson pointed out, even if the city were to purchase the buses and find no suitable transportation project for them, the city could put them back on the market and recoup at least part of its investment.
City staff showed a couple possible electric bus routes basically run north-south along Interstate-35 and east-west along Kyle Parkway and Seton Parkway. Administrators also pointed out that the buses could be used for economic development tours, be rented out for private use or be pressed into a number of other services.
“If we have the response, we can consider other routes,” City Manager Tom Mattis said.
The exterior of a used electric trolley bus Kyle might buy from a transit authority in Mobile, AL.Email | Print