We are working to conclude an order for a brand new 2023 type-C bus with a Canadian reseller. We hope to complete the contract early in the week of April 4. Delivery time is subject to a few factors, including government-mandated certification, transit time from manufacturer and dealer, installation of some options that we’ve requested, transit to Smithers, and more. We believe this will take about two months.
We are confident that the bus we have chosen will serve BVCS for many years. As a committee, our priority was placed on finding a quality bus. We did not choose the lowest-cost option. We chose a bus that will provide us with the features (cargo compartments, safety, powertrain) and quality (warranty, name brand, parts availability) that will promote longevity. We’re grateful for the way you donated during our year-end drive: this has made a new bus possible.
We are not going to re-commission bus #8. We may attempt a final repair in order to get it mobile again, but the bus itself will not be assigned to a route. It will be sold (if the fuel problem can be solved inexpensively) or scrapped.
We consulted with our families (BVCS and St. Joes) and there is overwhelming (almost unanimous) support for serving both routes at two-week intervals using Bus #7. Normal routes and schedules will be followed. The following schedule will be in place until the new bus arrives:
- April 4 – 15: Witset/Lake Kathlyn route
- April 18 – 29: Telkwa/Tyhee Lake route
- May 2 – 13: Witset/Lake Kathlyn route
- May 16 – 27: Telkwa/Tyhee Lake route
- May 30 – June 10: Witset/Lake Kathlyn route
- June 13 – 24: Telkwa/Tyhee Lake route
We encourage you to carpool on your “off” weeks.
A number of surveyed families had thoughtful suggestions including van rentals and bus rentals (from SD54 or others). We have been focussing most of our attention on procuring a new bus, communicating with parents and drivers (and St Joe’s school), discussing plans for Bus #8, etc. We haven’t investigated every possibility. We’ll spend a little more time on some of these options in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we hope the following is helpful:
- SD54 rental: we asked SD54 about bus rentals (and purchases) in February. They have a lot of buses on their lot, but many of the buses that are not in service don’t have current inspection certificates (and would incur repair costs to be given current certificates). We have spent our share of money on bus maintenance already.
- SD54 purchase: SD54 has some buses for sale currently, but we were not satisfied that purchasing one of these would put us further ahead. We’d soon have the same problems with rust perforations, maintenance and repairs and mechanical maintenance that we have now. The buses we were offered have the exact same mileage as our current ones. We don’t want to spend yet more money on repairs and certifications. Since having these conversations with SD54 in February, some of their available bus inventory may have changed: we haven’t had time to revisit this, and we also decided to purchase new instead of used. We are willing to re-visit this should the need arise.
- Van rental: morning and afternoon pickups and routes by schools require, by British Columbia law, to be done with certified yellow-and-black “School Buses”. We cannot use anything other than this. We cannot run a school bus route with a van or even with a white bus. It must be a yellow-and-black with lights and meeting all BC requirements for school buses.
- Other options: we contacted other school districts and bus operators to find used bus options for purchase or rental in the north. This search was fruitless (unless we wanted to buy the same condition bus that we already own).
- Carpooling: We encourage families to carpool on their ‘off weeks’.
Our attention has been on procurement and managing the immediate need to move kids on AM and PM routes. This has taken our energy and time in communicating, meeting, planning and phone calls. With the above things in place, we can now shift some energy and attention to other options. If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them. In the meantime, this page contains all of our planning.
We look forward to announcing when we have a signed contract on our new bus. We’re working hard to complete that now.