Old Calgary buses sold to Winnipeg to help that city's service shortfall

The City of Winnipeg is doing a little second-hand shopping in Calgary. For buses. The buses were to be retired from service, but Winnipeg was facing a shortfall.

Sale is a win-win for both municipalities, according the Calgary Transit fleet manager

Winnipeg is getting some second-hand Calgary Transit buses to help it with a service shortfall. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The City of Winnipeg is doing a little second-hand shopping in Calgary. For buses. 

"Winnipeg had a couple of issues meeting commitment levels on a regular basis with their current fleet, so they needed to have some replacement buses on fairly short notice," said Russell Davies, fleet manager for Calgary Transit. 

"So we sold them 24 buses that we were due to be retiring. The total deal was roundabout $260,000, about $11,000 per bus."

Davies said it was a win-win situation for both cities, as Calgary was looking to retire the buses and Winnipeg had an urgent need.

For Calgary, it meant a little more money to pad the budget. If the buses had been recycled it would have taken man-hours to prepare them for scrap and resulted in a comparatively measly $500 payment per bus. 

For Winnipeg it meant a cheap alternative to new buses that currently cost around $650,000 each, according to Davies. 

Shelf life of buses

It's not the first time Calgary has sold older buses to other municipalities, although Davies said it's not "something we do every day."

The buses headed to Winnipeg are around 20 to 22 years old. 

"We try to limit the life of our buses to 22 years, which is still considerably longer than other agencies. I think agencies down in the states typically retire their buses after 12 years."

Davies said Calgary Transit has bought second-hand buses in the past, but not for about 10 or 15 years. 

"Since that time we've developed some fairly long-term fleet plans and council has been very supportive in terms of providing sufficient budget to meet our fleet requirements," he said.

"So as buses retire, we typically place an order about a year beforehand to replace them. So we've been fairly fortunate in the way council supported us, really."

With files from Diane Yanko


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