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Martha’s Vineyard is adding six new Blue Bird school buses to their district’s fleet following a series of productive conversations with Anderson Motors, Inc., a new vendor in a new category on the VEH98 Purchase of Vehicles Statewide Contract. The purchase is in line with the Vineyard’s long-range strategic plan to replace a portion of their assets each year and keep their fleet current. The six buses are expected to be delivered to the island by mid-August.

The bus acquisition process started when Amy Tierney, School Business Administrator for Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, began researching the array of bus options available on the market and developing basic specs for their regional high school buses. It was during this process that Amy’s research focused on the viability and efficacy of using gasoline-powered buses as opposed to the district’s diesel choices of the past.

All along, it was assumed that the Vineyard would put their prospective purchase out to bid. However, in the midst of her research, Amy attended OSD’s annual MASSBUYS EXPO at Gillette Stadium and learned that Anderson Motors, a company with whom the Vineyard has had dealings for a number of years, was on Statewide Contract. Amy was able to get a first-hand look at the gasoline bus model at MASSBUYS and speak with Vice President Jim Anderson. Having buses on Statewide Contract would enable the Vineyard to forego the complex bid process.

With baseline specs in hand, Amy then collaborated with Angie Grant, Administrator at the Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority, whose expertise in all things fleet helps the community maximize value on their large-ticket vehicle purchases. Angie moved the project forward, digging into performance data and talking with Jim to firm up the community’s bus requirements. Ultimately, Angie and Amy selected a Statewide Contract alternative fuel option for the regional high school buses, opting for a Roush V10 gasoline engine in lieu of the more ubiquitous diesel choices.

Referring to her conversations with Anderson Motors, Angie notes that she had direct access to Jim Anderson and was able to lay out the Vineyard’s specifications. Additionally, Jim facilitated conversations with a Blue Bird engineer to address Angie’s more technical inquiries.

“I need something that’s reliable and is going to last,” asserts Angie. “Jim and I spoke multiple times so he and I were on the same page about our specifications. I like to front-end things and be proactive, this way we both know what to expect. The end result is we build a better bus.”

When asked how she would sum up her experience, Angie stated that the vehicle and transmission warranties offered under the Statewide Contract exceeded expectations, and she appreciated having the OSD Contract Manager, Lisa Westgate, available to help navigate the process. Angie sees the option to purchase from Statewide Contracts as a real benefit to organizations that may not have the in-house expertise and resources for a purchase of this type. “OSD has done the due diligence; buyers can just cherry-pick what they need.”
Looking forward, the Vineyard is exploring energy-efficient electric buses, another Statewide Contract option. Angie’s conversations with Lisa also covered ways Statewide Contracts may support the Vineyard’s need for windshields, tires, and fuel, as well as maintenance and auto parts inventory management.

Offerings on the VEH98 Statewide Contract continue to expand. Direct your fleet questions to Lisa Westgate at 617-720-3112.

Jim and John Anderson from Anderson Motors exhibit their wares during the 2018 MASSBUYS EXPO at Gillette Stadium.

Jim and John Anderson from Anderson Motors exhibit their wares during the 2018 MASSBUYS EXPO at Gillette Stadium.

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