Salisbury City Council approves to buy smaller, replacement vehicles

Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council has approved the purchase of three, smaller transit vehicles in lieu 0f three, 25-foot, low floor, light-duty vehicles that were already budgeted for the current fiscal year. Council allowed the purchase of the 25-foot vehicles that each sat up to 15 passengers totaling $570,000 for the 2023-2024 city budget. Transit Director Rodney Harrison said that those buses are not currently available due to a shortage of the vehicle’s chassis or base frame. Harrison advised that Salisbury has to adapt to fit the need for transportation.

“The demand for some transit vehicles are greater than the supply. Therefore, it’s important to be flexible and purchase vehicles that are more readily available,” Harrison said. “This is to fill a gap until hopefully the supply of the vehicles become more readily available.”

Harrison said that the replacement vehicles may include cameras and two-way radios. The entire cost for the three new vehicles would be $327,615. They have the capacity for microtransit, ADA paratransit, and a fixed route system. The vehicles can fit up to six passengers and one mobility device, and more seats can be purchased to alter the seat plans. Another main difference is that instead of a ramp on the side, it will have a lift in the back.

Council member David Post questioned the validity of purchasing these smaller vehicles where less people will be able to take advantage of them. Harrison promised to not leave future riders stranded. The city already has similar light duty vehicles, but they are not accessible by ramp, only by lift. Harrison mentioned the remaining amount from the 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities grant could assist in the purchasing of a 25-foot, low floor, light duty vehicle.

The city still has vehicles that are 15-20 years old and these newer ones will give Salisbury more of a “mixed fleet” that can fill different tasks according to Harrison. City Manager Jim Greene emphasized Salisbury requires more vehicles to keep up with the market. He reminded everyone that the microtransit pilot program was set in place to figure out what vehicles would be sensible and that they can be moved around to where they are appropriate.

“We’re struggling now on equipment. Whether it’s pickup trucks, transit vehicles, firetrucks, we’re struggling. We’re having to get very creative…This gives us more flexibility,” Greene said.