Big bus turning heads on Lindsay streets
Lindsay Transit recently took delivery of their first ARBOC Spirit of Equess 31-seat passenger bus, and initial reviews from both drivers and passengers are very positive.
Robert Horvat, supervisor of Transit Services, said, “Our drivers are thrilled with the new bus. It handles better and the overall ride and experience is much smoother.”
Horvat adds that response from the public has been very enthusiastic also.
“Our operators,” Horvat said, “always mention the head turning effect that is occurring when they are on route. The passengers echo our operators’ opinion of the smoother ride and that (the Equess) looks like a real bus.”
The bus, which is a third larger than any other vehicle in the Lindsay Transit fleet, can seat 21, and has room for another ten standing plus two wheelchair passengers.
This new bus was not inexpensive, costing almost $300,000, but the city was able to procure it at a price close to what they were paying for their smaller buses because in was already built and in stock ready for purchase.
Through the Canadian Infrastructure program (ICIP) Lindsay Transit was able to obtain funding for about 61 per cent of the cost of the vehicle, with the federal and provincial governments picking up the bulk of the purchase price.
Transit is hoping that this purpose-built bus will have a long life expectancy and will still be in service at the ten year mark when the city typically looks at replacing buses with new fleet purchases.
If budgeting allows, the ARBOC Spirit of Equess will be the first of a number of larger buses servicing transit passengers in Lindsay.
Rodney Porter, manager of Fleet and Transit Services said, “Staff continually evaluate the most appropriate plan for our fleet. Given the success of this bus and the continued growth of transit ridership, our plan is to replace our current cutaway models with purpose built buses such as the ARBOC Spirit of Equess. Replacement (of the smaller older buses) would occur when regular lifecycle replacement needs demand and budget permits, based on council approval.”
When asked about their thinking behind purchasing a bus that might be more commonly seen in Durham Region or Peterborough, senior transit staff made it clear they were looking at busing needs for the next decade.
Porter said, “As the community grows and council mandates service expansion, the demands/ridership will only continue to grow. Barring unforeseen issues, the municipality retains buses for a ten year life cycle, and staff need to be sure we are adequately planning for the future.”
The pandemic was very hard on Lindsay Transit’s ridership, reducing it significantly.
Post-pandemic ridership sits at roughly 65-70 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership, Horvat said.
The highest ridership counts were in 2019 with more than 2,300 weekly and 10,000 monthly riders. These numbers don’t include Lindsay Mobility Specialized (LIMO) service which has seen an increase in ridership and new clients.