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One of the 20-foot electric buses that is providing on-demand transit service in Saint John. Image: Tim Herd

Saint John Transit looks at lease buyout of 6 electric buses

By Brad Perry May 29, 2024 | 6:53 AM

It appears that six electric buses being leased by Saint John Transit for on-demand service will be staying on the roads.

On Monday evening, council approved adjusting the 2023 and 2024 capital budgets to buy the buses outright at a cost of nearly $1.7 million.

The decision comes as the leases for the six 20-foot buses are set to run out over the coming weeks.

Coun. Gary Sullivan, who chairs the finance committee, said the city had planned to buy the buses using funding from the federal Zero Emission Transit Fund.

However, according to Sullivan and a staff report, Saint John Transit is still waiting for its application to the program to be approved, which prompted the recommendation to adjust the capital budgets.

The city initially leased the buses from Damera Leasing Canada Corp. for 12 months and extended it by an extra six months.

But city staff said the supplier “recently and unexpectedly” indicated there is no ability to extend the lease further.