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A Big Blue Bus vehicle near the City of Santa Monica's facility yard for the transportation fleet on May 25. Administrator's of the buses, like all public service departments, presented their budgets before the Santa Monica City Council May 24-26, part of the City's biennial budget.
Photo by Stephanie Salvatore
A Big Blue Bus vehicle near the City of Santa Monica's facility yard for the transportation fleet on May 25. Administrator's of the buses, like all public service departments, presented their budgets before the Santa Monica City Council May 24-26, part of the City's biennial budget.

News, Budget, Transportation, Big Blue Bus, Santa Monica

Santa Monica Approves $16Mil for Big Blue Bus

Posted Jun. 21, 2011, 7:05 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, the City's public bus system with and annual operating budget of close to $60 million, was granted more than $16 million worth of costs with nary a discussion or individual vote at a June 14 meeting of the Santa Monica City Council.

With about 30 items on the city council’s consent calendar at its June 14 meeting, members approved at least 10 items directly related to Big Blue Bus (BBB) expenditures, including purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for $12.5 million, purchase of engine parts for $900,000, air conditioning repair services for $450,000, schedule printing services for $400,000, Plexiglas window guards for $250,000, and BBB administration building roof replacement for $156,262. As all the items were on the consent calendar, council members approved all the BBB expenditures in one fell swoop; none of the items were pulled for discussion.

The biggest expense was the allocation of $12.5 million over five years for Clean Energy Fuels to contractually provide fuel LNG to at least 125 buses in the BBB fleet. In addition to fuel costs, council members also approved in the consent calendar about $560,000 for maintenance and repair of a natural gas fueling station over the course of four years, as well as an additional $160,000 (for three years) to maintain BBB’s cleaning tanks.

The second largest expense among the BBB items was the $900,000 - to be paid over three years to Cummins Cal Pacific - approved for new BBB engine parts compliant with state and federal emissions standards.

Another $700,000 was approved for aesthetic improvements, including $450,000 over three years to Bus Systems Unlimited for air condition repair services, while another $250,000 was allocated to Transit Products and Services for the purchase of Plexiglas window guards which makes it easier to correct vandalism. With the new window guards, BBB will not have to fully replace glass windows in its entirety, but instead replaced protective sheets on top of the glass when vandalized. The Plexiglas contract is also for three years.

Amongst the least expensive of BBB-related items on the consent calendar was the $156,262 expenditure to replace the roof of the bus company’s administrative building located on Seventh Street. Awarded to Eberhard, the expenditure item would essentially remove the roof currently atop the administration building and replace it with what the BBB described as a PVC membrane roof.

While the roof is being replaced, BBB officials working inside the administrative building will have to be temporarily relocated. The council has yet to determine a temporary alternate location, nor has it decided upon the design plans for the new roof. Accordingly, while the city council pushed forward tens of millions of dollars for BBB upgrades, expect a few more expenditures to be approved in order for the contract already in place to be fully executed and complete.

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Comments

Jun. 21, 2011, 12:38:48 pm

Martin Mlller said...

What city of 8 square miles and 90,000 residents has a bus system this size? The blue buses, or 'blue blockers' -- as some Santa Monica drivers call them -- clog the streets and impair traffic. We should have vans, trams, mini-buses, people movers, etc., and far fewer, or none, of these full size buses. The trains are coming (better late than never), so hopefully the buses will be fewer in number.

Jun. 21, 2011, 4:06:05 pm

BBB Rocks! said...

I find the BBBs the best way to avoid traffic. Far, far easier to take the bus to UCLA or downtown than to slog through the parking lots we call streets and freeways. And if you think traffic is bad with the buses, just imagine how bad it would be if we all jumped back in our cars! Or if your fleet of vans, trams, etc, flooded the streets.

Jun. 21, 2011, 6:14:11 pm

Martin Miller said...

Wow, someone else read this story. The BBB's are good for UCLA travel. The train is coming. Can't imagine fleets of small vehicles except where they would effective. Certainly don't want the LAX situation. But we're still too BBB in SM.

Jun. 21, 2011, 6:20:58 pm

KBKBKB said...

"Santa Monica Approve"...really? Where's the proofreading? Even the headline is grammatically incorrect!

Jun. 21, 2011, 9:25:57 pm

J Kale said...

No, the buses do not "impair traffic"/ Traffic impairs the buses. When we are sitting on Santa Monica Blvd trying to cross under the 405 during rush hour, we are impaired by individual cars trying to get on the freeway or perform stupid and illegal acts of the road that people tend to have the compulsion to do when stuck in traffic. I've never been stuck on a street clogged with buses. Just cars. The buses hold more than 30 people when packed to capacity. Would you rather 30 cars be there in place of the bus? That would place you 570 feet back in traffic.

Jun. 22, 2011, 3:47:59 am

len labounty said...

when was the last time anyone mentioned a monorail system to be in the transit mix...and why dosent california have one in all major cities..it cant be politics..can it??

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