CATS approves $150K bid to purchase used buses
BATON ROUGE - The Capitol Area Transit System wants to spend $150,000 on 10 used buses they're hoping to purchase from an auction in Virginia.
The buses are being retired and are are well worn, each having around 350,000 miles. But board members say that's better than what they have now.
A majority of their fleet is past the recommended life span for a public bus, and frequent breakdowns have hurt their customer service.
"We have customers complaining all the time not just about the conditions of the bus but the times their bus breaks down," said CATS Board Member Donna Collins-Lewis. "They're late to work and that's one of the promises we made to our riders, was on time performance."
"The problem is, the bus will break down on you, and you'll be stuck on the bus," said CATS rider Alvin Valentine who has missed work or scheduled appointments several times due to bus maintenance.
"If a bus breaks down we don't have anything to replace it," Collins-Lewis said. "With maybe another broken bus that we've repaired."
Board members say they've needed a new fleet for years, and voted unanimously Tuesday to allow CEO Bob Mirabito to bid up to $10,000 per bus. It is a public auction and there is no guarantee CATS will be able to purchase the buses they want. If the bid is successful, however; the buses could be up and running within 30 days.