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Council approves purchase of new Tracer buses

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The city’s Tracer bus service will add three new buses to its fleet, following Tracy City Council action last week.

At its Aug. 15 meeting the council approved spending $2.2 million to buy three 29-foot low-floor buses for the Tracy fixed route service.

The city recently approved expansion of Tracer Routes to serve the Ellis and Tracy Hills developments. Those include shuttles between the new developments and the Altamont Corridor Express train station. City Transit Manager Ed Lovell noted that this is a pilot program bringing commuters to and from the last three morning trains and the last three evening trains.

There is also a new shuttle service in the middle of the day between Tracy Hills and Ellis and the downtown Tracy Transit Station at Sixth Street and Central Avenue. The city also recently established a commuter route that connects Tracy Hills and Ellis to Kimball High and then to the Tracy Transit Station.

The city will acquire the diesel buses, manufactured by Gillig LLC of Livermore, through its participation in a cooperative purchasing agreement with California Association for Coordinated Transportation/Morongo Basin Transit Authority Purchasing Cooperative using grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration, California Department of Transportation and the Transportation Development Act.

The state and federal grants cover all but about $250,000 of the cost. The council approved an additional $75,000 contingency for any additional expense that could arise in building or delivering the buses.

Lovell noted that the city has been using Gillig buses since 2017, and each bus is expected to stay in service for 14 years. He expects the new buses to be delivered within the next 14 to 16 months

They will be added to a fleet of 17 buses, including nine Gillig buses – five 35-foot buses and four 29-foot buses – that are in service now for the fixed routes. The city also has two buses that can be used for fixed routes or for paratransit and on-demand service, and six just for paratransit/on demand.


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