Dial-A-Ride: Two new buses, second one covered

Though it had budgeted for only one, the town will be purchasing two new Dial-A-Ride buses in fiscal year 2016, the second to replace one totaled by a distracted driver back in June.
And since the original contract came in under budget, and the totaled bus was insured, the extra van will come at no added cost to taxpayers, according to Wilton’s first selectman.
At the Dec. 21 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, town executives authorized First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice to execute the sale agreement, and to push the savings from that contract, along with the insurance payout, into Wilton’s capital reserve fund.
There were two separate actions. Michael Kaelin moved to authorize Vanderslice to sign, was seconded by David Clune, and received a 4-0-0 vote. To allow the moneys aforementioned into the reserve fund, again Kaelin moved, this time seconded by Dick Dubow, with a 4-0-0 vote.
The additional bus will be purchased with the reserve.
On June 30, a motorist programming his GPS and drinking coffee while driving southbound on Route 7 drifted into the other lane, hitting and totaling the northbound Dial-A-Ride bus driven by Ross Hand. To date, $46,000 in coverage has been paid by the insurer.
In the fiscal year 2016 budget, $60,000 had been set aside to pay for one Dial-A-Ride bus. However, the winning contract came in at just over $52,000, this thanks to a warranty, Vanderslice said. “It’s a unique item that’s custom,” she said, so “the pricing came from a state bid list.”
According to Vanderslice, the $8,000 in savings, coupled with the funds from the claim, “will more than cover the other van.”
At the meeting, the votes were all in favor and there wasn’t much discussion, but Dubow did point out that buying two buses at the same time will put the buses on the same maintenance, repair and replacement cycles.
“Now they’re going to both be of the same vintage,” he said, “which means they’re going to give out at the same time. That’s something we need to keep in mind, in terms of future planning.”