Cost effective vehicle purchases
The decision to purchase a vehicle requires careful consideration of up-front vehicle acquistion costs, and later vehicle operations and maintenance costs. With the increase in the costs of fuel and maintenance labor, fuel efficient, reliable vehicles are now more valuable than in the past. Cost-effective vehicle procurement is an important part of maintaining a reliable fleet that can run efficiently and for long hours. The problem of ‘peaking’ adds to these problems. Peaking refers to the high number of vehicles needed to accommodate the high numbers of passengers that converge on the system during morning and evening rush hours. This means that transit systems have to obtain and maintain more vehicles than are needed during off-peak hours.
State and local governments are eligible to receive funds for capital costs, like vehicles, from the federal Department of Transportation through several programs, like the Surface Transportation Program, the Bus and Bus Facilities Program, and others, though they must follow certain guidelines and meet eligibility requirements.
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Vehicle Purchasing Study
German Case Study
Professors Buehler and Pucher examined the elements of a successful increase in transit efficiency in Germany. They found that purchasing new vehicles, and sharing them among transit agencies, was a part of improving the financial sustainability of Germany's transit system, along with reducing labor costs and fare reform.
- US Department of Transportation, Livability. “Grants and Programs.”
- Buehler, Ralph and John Pucher. "Making Public Transport Financially Sustainable." 2011.