Gabriola seeking bus upgrades

NANAIMO – Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express is looking to upgrade its bus fleet.

Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express is looking to upgrade its bus fleet.

The Gabriola Island community bus service is applying for $77,600 from the New Building Canada Fund’s Small Communities Fund, a shared federal-provincial grant, for the purchase of two used buses for 2017, if it is successful.

Vehicles have reached the end of their useful life and need to be replaced, said a report from the Regional District of Nanaimo.

While Mercedes Benz or Ford vehicles could be purchased, more environmentally friendly options could be explored too, said Fay Weller, spokeswoman for the bus service.

“We might take a look at something else, especially electric,” said Weller. “I think that’s one of our main areas of interest … if there’s any way we can shift towards electric that’s what we’d be doing.”

Bus service staff worked with regional district staff on the report and at the district’s regular board meeting Tuesday, directors passed a motion to send a letter of recommendation in favour of the application.

Howard Houle, Gabriola Island director, who proposed the motion, said the bus has been beneficial by reducing greenhouse gases and it also helps students get to school without having to rely on their parents.

The governments would provide two-thirds of the money and the bus service will pay a third, said Weller, adding she expects to hear about the fate of the proposal in the fall.

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