St. John's spending $15 M on new buses

St. John's city council has approved a plan to borrow $15 million for new public buses.
Metrobus will be replacing some of its old buses.

St. John's city council has approved a plan to borrow $15 million for new public buses.

Half the city's fleet is at least 25 years old and councillors said the buses should be replaced for safety reasons.

Metrobus will get 30 new vehicles under the seven-year plan.

City officials looked into buying new hybrid-electric buses but decided not to purchase the more-expensive, environmentally friendly vehicles

The hybrids each cost $300,000 more than standard buses.

In January, during a three-month Metrobus strike, St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe suggested the city would reduce the amount it spends on public transportation.

"The city puts $10 million into the Metrobus system, so we pay for, we subsidize by 50 per cent and council can't have that kind of money being spent on empty buses running around the city," he said over the weekend.

Between 9,000 and 14,000 people use public transportation in St. John's each day, many of them students.

O'Keefe told CBC News in late December that St. John's was saving about $45,000 each week that Metrobus is out of service.

After the strike ended in late January, Metrobus offered free bus rides and reduced fares to attract more commuters and students to public transportation.