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Transit gets $17M from feds

Funds to go towards new buses, route construction

Durham Region Transit has been given more than $17.5 million by the federal government for various projects, the largest of which is the purchase of new buses.

Durham Region Transit has been given more than $17.5 million by the federal government for various projects, the largest of which is the purchase of new buses.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Durham Region Transit has found itself with some new spending money thanks to the federal government.

The regional transit agency is set to receive a little more than $17.5 million from the federal government’s Federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. As part of the program, 75 per cent of the project costs must be incurred by the end of March 2018, and the full costs by the end of March 2019.

Vincent Patterson, Durham Region Transit’s (DRT) general manager, says the influx of federal funds will be going towards a number of projects and purchases, the largest of which is the purchase of more buses.

“This is something we do every year, and it’s really about managing assets. Our buses are workhorses. They run every year for more kilometres than probably you do with your car, or your neighbours around you,” he tells The Oshawa Express.

“They work almost 20 hours a day and travel a whole lot of distance by the end of the year, so they work very hard. It is a program we have to always replace a few of them and to maintain them and keep them in ship shape condition so that they don’t break down.”

In total, DRT will be receiving a little more than $6.1 million to go towards fleet replacement.

The feds are also contributing $1 million to go towards the installation of more security cameras in buses in the DRT fleet.

“It’s a retrofit – some of the buses don’t have cameras on board yet. It’s something that we’ve been planning for a while, to expand the number of buses that have cameras on board. This will allow us to essentially finish the job,” Patterson says, adding he was unsure of how much of the fleet currently has cameras.

“Another aspect of this $1 million is the technology behind it. When we have a lot of buses fitted with cameras, it isn’t like we have somebody somewhere in an office handling the tapes or whatever. It’s not done that way. We need a lot of capacity and resources to handle this.”