Two new transit buses, at total cost of about $431,000, are due to arrive in Bridgewater by next March.
Civic politicians recently authorized the procurement to Alberta-based Western Canada Bus to provide the new low-floor, wheelchair accessible buses that can each seat 18 passengers.
"What's awesome is that we were able to purchase these two buses for less than our original spec for one bus thanks to the resourcefulness of our amazing staff," Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell wrote on social media, acknowledging the province for being supportive with grants.
The town earmarked $600,000 in the capital budget, believing it could only afford one new bus. The province committed $400,000 to assist in the purchase.
The two 2020 Champion LF transit buses - on 2021 Ford E-450 chassis - are complete with bi-fold ramps and other specifications and are designed to replace the town's aging bus fleet.
A pair of old Metro X buses from the Halifax Regional Municipality were donated to the town when Bridgewater's transit program wasn't yet a permanent service, a feat accomplished in 2019. The town has provided transit service since September 2017.
"The transit buses in current use ... have high maintenance requirements and reached the end of their serviceable lives," Matthew Davidson, Bridgewater's engineering services manager, said in a report to council.
Bridgewater received four bids to provide new buses. Civic politicians were interested in the potential of an electric-powered vehicle but none of the submissions matched that hope. "While the specifications were written to permit an electric bus submission, unfortunately, we did not receive a submission for an electric bus," Davidson's report said.
Bridgewater Transit ordinarily operates 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. There is no service on Sundays. The fixed-loop, single bus service was averaging about 89 passengers per day, as of the first quarter of 2019.
It costs about $257,000 per year to operate the system.
More information about Bridgewater Transit, including the online transit tracker system that displays a live map of the 16-kilometre loop, can be found at www.bridgewater.ca/transit on the internet.