Title

FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYZING ALTERNATIVES TO TRANSIT BUS REPLACEMENT

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1999

Subject Area

ridership - commuting, mode - bus

Keywords

Transportation economics, Transport economics, Transit buses, Remanufacturing, Rehabilitation (Maintenance), Feasibility analysis, Economics, Costs, Cost benefit analysis, Bus replacement, Benefit cost analysis

Abstract

The addition of new buses to the existing fleet of any transit agency is a capital-intensive project. Approximately 50,000 transit buses are in service in the United States today that were purchased primarily through federal funds. In an average year, more than 3,500 buses are purchased by grantees of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A recent FTA study showed that, nationwide, the total annual cost of bus replacement easily exceeds $1 billion. An analytic framework for the assessment of alternatives to bus replacement is presented in this paper. Two generic groups of alternatives are identified: rehabilitation and remanufacturing. The former focuses on the repair of engines and machine components. The latter is more concerned with restoring the structural integrity of the bus. The framework developed uses the basic principles of economics and attempts to quantify benefits and costs associated with postponing the replacement of an existing bus either by rehabilitation or by remanufacturing. The procedure incorporates intangible benefits and disbenefits, as well as a risk penalty associated with the extended use of an existing bus beyond its normal service life. A set of examples is presented to demonstrate the application of the proposed framework. The examples show that the procedure is viable and can be used to assess the economic feasibility of alternatives to bus replacement.