Big Blue Bus costs major moolah to run
CITY HALL — In the second to last City Council meeting of the fiscal year, city staff packed the consent agenda with 31 items slated for approval, and a price tag of $20.66 million.That’s the largest amount spent on consent since the Nov. 9, 2010 meeting where the City Council approved $20.6 million for a new insurance plan for municipal employees with provider Cigna.
This time, the bulk of the total comes from the purchase of liquefied natural gas, or LGN, for the Big Blue Bus system, a one-year contract with four additional one-year options for a total of $12.5 million over the course of all five years.
BBB operates 125 natural-gas powered buses, and will add another 15 to its fleet by December. The system currently consumes 270,000 gallons of LNG each month. The fuel is produced locally, in Boron, Calif.
Another $4.4 million of spending on the consent agenda is also expected to go to the bus system.
Natural gas related costs
BBB staff put a number of items related to maintaining and dispensing natural gas for its fleet, totaling $1.76 million.
The fueling station itself needs very expensive and very rare parts that can take months to get after a problem is discovered.