MERCED — Five new school buses will be rolling on Merced streets by mid-month, replacing high-mileage models that are more than 30 years old.
The Merced City School District Board of Education, during a five-minute special meeting Tuesday afternoon, unanimously approved a $724,084 lease- purchase agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC to buy the 82-passenger Thomas buses.
Board President Adam Cox said he is pleased with the purchase of the environmentally friendly buses. The diesel- powered buses are equipped with safety belts and meet more stringent California Air Resources Board pollution requirements.
Matt Adams, the district's transportation supervisor, said the district has 36 buses. The new buses will displace five older models that aren't air-board compliant and may be scrapped.
Adams said the new buses bought from Bus West of Sacramento are equipped with video camera systems. While more modern, they still don't come with air conditioning. The buses should be arriving by Monday so drivers and mechanics can become familiar with them by the Aug. 19 opening of schools.
Greg Spicer, associate superintendent for administrative services, said money for the buses will come out of reserves.
It's been seven years since the district has bought new buses. Older buses have logged more than 300,000 miles.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.