Amtran to perform overhauls on 3 buses

Amtran on Wednesday tentatively awarded a $605,000 contract to CoachCrafters of Lake County, Fla., to perform mid-life overhauls on three buses.

PennDOT is funding the overhauls as part of a program designed to extend the life of buses, according to Amtran General Manager Eric Wolf.

“We’re taking advantage,” he said.

The buses to be sent by flatbed to Florida one at a time are 2005 and 2006 models, Wolf said.

The authority hopes to extend their usable lives from the current dozen to about 20 years, according to Wolf.

Four companies responded to a request for proposals from Amtran for the work.

The low bid was $583,000 — $22,000 less than CoachCrafters’ bid.

But Amtran shied away from that other bid, because it included a cost breakout for parts that was $100,000 cheaper than the parts breakout for CoachCrafters, said Maintenance Director Gary Williams.

“If you go cheap anywhere, parts is not the way,” Williams said.

Williams made inquiries about parts acquisition to the other firm and didn’t get “satisfactory answers,” he said.

Amtran would have been OK if the lower costs were for labor or transport, William said.

Because the overall cost is greater than expected, Amtran will amend its grant request to PennDOT, in expectation of full funding, Wolf said.

The work should be done by September or October, Williams said.

The board approval of the contract is contingent on PennDOT’s final approval of the grant.

The buses will receive new marine plywood flooring with undercoat seal, new shock absorbers, valves and airbags; reinforcement metal supports; new paint and rustproofing; new windshields, new engine wire harnesses and new components like alternators and hydraulic pumps.

They’ll also receive remanufactured air and air-conditioning compressors, while the frames will be inspected and repaired if necessary. One bus will receive a new chairlift.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.