This article will benchmark the proposed new Hamilton garage against new public transit bus garages in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and East Gwillimbury.
By Kevin Love
Published March 09, 2015
this article has been updated
This article will benchmark the proposed new Hamilton garage against new public transit bus garages in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and East Gwillimbury. In comparison to these other four benchmarks, does the proposed Hamilton bus garage represent value for money to the people of Hamilton?
The first benchmark for comparison is Toronto's McNicoll bus garage. Just like Hamilton, the City of Toronto is looking to expand its bus fleet and is constructing a new garage in Scarborough.
This TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) bus garage will house 250 buses, for a cost of $181 million or $724,000 per bus.
This new garage will include bus fueling and maintenance facilities. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and be completed in 2019.
This new garage will include bus fueling and maintenance facilities for both Compressed Natural Gas and conventional diesel buses. Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2016 and be completed in November 2018.
The third benchmark for comparison is Edmonton's Fort Road bus garage. This bus garage will house 300 buses for a total cost of $196 million or $653,000 per bus.
This new garage will include bus fueling and maintenance facilities. $5.1 million has been earmarked to build space for a credit union, a café and an on-site daycare facility. Construction is scheduled to last from 2015-2018.
The fourth benchmark for comparison is the recently completed GO bus garage in East Gwillimbury, Ontario. This bus garage houses 36 buses for a total cost of $20 million or $556,000 per bus.
This new garage includes bus fueling and maintenance facilities. It was completed on September 8, 2014.
The City of Hamilton has produced a Ten Year (2015 to 2024) Local Transit Strategy plan. This plan proposes a bus garage to house 126 buses for a total cost of $200 million or $1,587,000 per bus.
This proposed new garage is to include bus fueling and maintenance facilities. Design and construction is proposed for 2015-2019.
Comparing the cost per bus for these new garages gives us:
|City||Cost per Bus|
|E. Gwillimbury||$ 556,000|
Going through my head right now is the Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong." The proposed Hamilton bus garage has costs per bus of over twice the most expensive benchmark comparison. It just doesn't belong.
Update: some details of this article are in dispute, specifically the cost-per-bus calculation, which divides the total cost of the bus facility by the number of new buses proposed under the HSR Ten Year Plan - 81 express buses and 45 local buses for a total of 126.
We have contacted the City for clarification and will update this article when we receive a response.
Update 2: The City has confirmed that the HSR Ten Year Plan only calls for the purchase of 126 buses, but notes that the new bus facility will be built to accommodate up to 225 buses. Dividing the $200 million cost by the total capacity of 225 buses rather than the planned increase of 126 buses gives a cost of $888,889 per bus capacity.
According to Kelly Anderson, spokesperson for the Public Works Department, the larger facility confers the following benefits:
- It is an efficient size of garage to build;
- It will provide capacity for future growth (ie. so we are not building another facility 5 years after this one is completed);
- It will allow us to optimize deadheading saving significant operational costs.
It will also provide "much more flexibility around [articulated] buses."
Currently, the HSR has a fleet of 226 buses and a storage facility on Upper James that can accommodate up to 225. The new bus facility will be in addition to the current one.
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