- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - The tourism agency for Columbus and Lowndes County is looking for a new bus.

Mechanical issues with the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau’s 1984 Leyland Motors Olympian double-decker led bureau board members last month to ask executive director Nancy Carpenter to begin soliciting quotes for a new one.

Carpenter told The Commercial Dispatch (https://bit.ly/XpfsZ5) that staff is working with the London-based company that supplied the current bus. Replacement costs thus far are estimated at between $30,000 and $70,000.

“At some very inopportune times, (the current bus) has quit,” Carpenter said. “We do have some wonderful mechanics that work on it on a regular basis. We just feel that we could purchase a newer model.”

Carpenter said the replacement bus would have to be at least 25 years old in order to avoid extra costs associated with federal emission standards.

While the Olympian is rented throughout the year for private events, it’s not used enough to justify extra costs, she said.

The bus has been used 37 times this year, Carpenter said. The bureau charges $150 for the first hour to rent the bus and $100 for each subsequent hour to pay for a driver, gas and upkeep. It is usually rented out for school events and weddings, as well as family and school reunions.

There is no money set aside in the upcoming fiscal year budget specifically for purchasing a replacement bus, the bureau could sell the current vehicle to offset some costs.

“There is so much that has come out of us having the bus that we’re almost being known like some other cities as having a double-decker bus,” she said.

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com


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