Buying Used Vehicles
Third Party Procurement
Frequently Asked Questions
Q = Question; A = Answer
Q. We have grant funds to purchase two used commuter style buses to be used on a new subscription service route. Is it possible to bid on buses being sold by another transit agency or a private firm or individual? Will bidding on used buses satisfy the open competition and other federal procurement guidelines?
A. You have to satisfy your requirements through competition. This would mean advertising your needs and soliciting proposals from interested sources. Evaluating those proposals is another problem. For example, you will want to consider such issues as the following:
- Relative bus age/bus condition
- Parts inventory requirements
- Safety and reliability
- Cost benefit analysis relative to new buses
In the final analysis, the agency is allowed to buy used buses but must use competition and sound business judgment. (Revised: September 2010)
Q. Are there any limitations on how 49 U.S.C. § 5307 grant money can be used to purchase used vanpool vans? Local layoffs may leave Seattle Metro with many surplus vanpool vans. We may need them for a short (4 year) construction project.
A. FTA Circular 9300.1B at page III-6 discusses the service life of vehicles purchased with FTA funds. It lists the service life of vans at four years or 100,000 miles. It does not address the service life of used vehicles. When one rehabilitates or rebuilds vehicles, there is no extension of service life stated as required in the law. (Revised: September 2010)
Q. We would like to purchase a used bus from a distributor. We did not solicit bids/pricing nor do we have a contract for this vehicle. What are the requirements for purchasing this used vehicle?
A. The FTA requirements for purchasing used vehicles are the same as for new vehicles, i.e., you must follow the requirements of FTA Procurement Circular 4220.1F. (Revised: September 2010)
Q. We are in the process of utilizing 49 U.S.C. § 5311 funds for new intercity bus service across the state. Can we allow the sub-recipients to purchase used vans and buses to expedite the start up of this service?
A. There's nothing in the FTA regulations that precludes a sub-recipient from purchasing used equipment. They should, however, ensure that the vehicles comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. (Reviewed: September 2010)
Q. What are, if any, the Buy America Requirements for used vehicles not at their useful life?
A. Generally, the requirements for procuring used vehicles are identical to those for the procurement of new vehicles. An RFP should seek vehicles that meet ADA, Buy America, Bus Testing, EPA, FMVSS, and all other Federal requirements.
FTA recognizes, however, that it may be impractical for used vehicles to demonstrate compliance with some of the Buy America requirements, such as the pre-award and post-delivery audit, and having a resident inspector present during the vehicle's construction. Please contact your representative in FTA's regional office if you need further assistance in this area. (Revised: September 2010)
Q. What are the Buy America regulations on used vehicle purchases? Mileage is around 39,000. Do they ask the dealer for documentation of Buy America compliance or do they not submit a Buy America certification?
A. If the vehicles were initially acquired using FTA funds, the original dealer/owner/vendor should have a copy of the pre-award/post-delivery Buy America audit required under 49 CFR Part 663. If so, providing the audit to the second purchaser should adequately document the vehicle's compliance with Buy America and FMVSS requirements. (Reviewed: September 2010)
Q. What is the useful life requirements concerning the purchase of used buses? Such as if they purchase a used bus that has 30,000 miles and the useful life on that bus is 125,000 miles, does that mean the bus has 95,000 miles of useful life? And what if the bus purchased already has 75,000 miles and the useful life requirements are 100,000 miles? I am told that if they purchase a vehicle that already has 75,000 miles, then the useful life has to be at least another 75,000 miles. Where can I find this information in a circular or guidance?
A. Chapter IV of FTA Circular 5010.1D (PDF) discusses the establishment and calculation of a vehicle's useful service life. In addition, Appendix D of the circular address the useful life calculation and disposition of vehicles acquired with FTA funds. If you have any specific questions, you should direct them to your grant representative in FTA's regional office in Atlanta. (Reviewed: September 2010)
Q. We are in the process of utilizing 49 U.S.C. 5311(f) funds for new intercity bus service across the state. Can we allow the sub-recipients to purchase used vans and buses to expedite the start up of this service?
A. There’s nothing in the FTA regulations that precludes the sub-recipients from purchasing used equipment. They should, however, ensure that the vehicles comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. (Reviewed: September 2010)