FRISCO - The Summit Stage is set to inherit at least five new buses, which will allow transit officials to implement a plan to install bicycle racks inside at least 10 Summit Stage buses.
"We can at least double our carrying capacity for bicycles," Summit Stage director John Jones said. "I think that will be a big help for the customer."
The five-year-old buses are coming from Colorado Springs' now-defunct Front Range Express for a small fraction of the cost of a new bus.
"We're one of the few entities that can use the buses," assistant county manager Thad Noll said. "It's a great deal, a great opportunity for us and will save the Stage a lot of money."
The hand-me-down buses will cost the Summit Stage less than $150,000 in total. A single new bus would cost nearly $400,000.
Local transit officials have secured at least five buses, but as many as eight might be available to be adopted by the Summit Stage.
Officials say the second-hand buses are exactly the same as the newer coaches in the Summit Stage fleet, but are higher quality than the older buses they will replace.
"They're low mileage for their age and in very good condition," Jones said. "They'll also have an emissions package, so they'll run cleaner."
The buses will likely arrive in Summit County in September and be carrying passengers by this winter.
The second-hand buses have more space between the interior floor and ceiling than older models, allowing for wall-mounted bike racks to be installed inside the coach.
The Summit Stage previously had five buses that could accommodate the interior bike racks, but transit officials said they needed to have at least 10 buses that could fit the racks before they began installing them.
"We would be able then to carry bikes year-round, carry bikes at night which we can't currently do and have a reasonable expectation that the bus that pulls up at your stop will be outfitted (with a rack)," Noll said.
The bike racks will fit into space at the back of the buses. Going forward, the Stage will only purchase new buses that have room for the racks, eventually ensuring the entire fleet can carry bikes.
The racks hold up to six or seven bicycles.
Currently, Summit Stage buses can carry a limited number of bikes on racks mounted to the front of the bus, but they can't be used in the winter or at night, Jones said.
The second-hand buses are black and will not be painted blue and white to match the rest of the Summit Stage fleet.
"Painting a bus is a major undertaking and very expensive," Jones said. "They look exactly like our newest buses, but they're black."
The Summit Stage logo and stripes will be affixed to the coaches when they arrive in Summit County.