The Ottawa City Council reverse-jinxed itself during its June 7 meeting when Commissioner Wayne Eichelkraut admitted supply chain issues meant North Central Area Transit was having issues getting new buses.
Just a week later, during a special meeting, the City Council approved the purchase of two 2019 Ford E 350 buses from a local seller for $55,000 each for a total of $110,000.
“You wouldn’t believe they were actually sitting less than a mile from our NCAT buildings,” Eichelkraut said. “Around the corner of (U.S.) 6 and (Route) 71 there’s a place called Sundance that I think is in city limits in storage for someone that ships different products up to Nome, Alaska. For some reason, they didn’t need them up there.”
Eichelkraut said the mechanic came by examine them out and they are excellent buses, one with a little more than 10,000 miles on it and the other with 8,900.
NCAT still is in need of more buses and bus parts, however. Eichelkraut said the city is having trouble getting parts to fix the air conditioning units and it’s too hot outside to run a bus without air conditioning.
“We’re running about 300 people a day and I’d like to get that up to 350, but we’re having the same problem as everyone else finding cars and vans and buses,” Eichelkraut said. “We probably need about nine buses to keep our fleet active enough to actually expand.”
NCAT has 28 or 29 buses and runs 21 or 22 on the road at all times while others are getting maintained.