Spares Ratio

Third Party Procurement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q = Question; A = Answer

Q. If experimental technology is being purchased, such as hybrid electric buses, can the spare ratio be exceeded? Since the new technology is still experimental and we expect these buses will break down more frequently, can we compensate for that by having, an extra five buses in the spare ratio?

A. You will need to present your question regarding a deviation from the recommended spares ratio to your regional FTA office since it is an issue within their jurisdiction and not a procurement matter. (Reviewed: September 15, 2009)

Q. Can you tell me where I can find the regulation or policy that gives the spares ratio when purchasing buses and vans?

A. The spares ratio focused on buses is found in FTA Circular 9030.1C, “Urbanized Area Formula Program: Grant Application Instructions,” chapter V, paragraph 9.a.5, which follows:

5. Spare Ratio Policies. Spare ratios will be taken into account in the review of projects proposed to replace, rebuild, or add vehicles. The basis for determining a reasonable spare bus ratio takes local circumstances into account. The number of spare buses in the active fleet for grantees operating 50 or more revenue vehicles should not exceed 20 percent of the number of vehicles operated in maximum service.” For purposes of the spare ratio calculation, "vehicles operated in maximum service" are defined as the total number of revenue vehicles operated to meet the annual maximum service requirement. This is the revenue vehicle count during the peak season of the year; on the week and day that maximum service is provided. It excludes atypical days and one-time special events. Scheduled standby vehicles are permitted to be included as "vehicles operated in maximum service.”

Spare ratio is defined as the number of spare vehicles divided by the vehicles required for annual maximum service. Spare ratio is usually expressed as a percentage, e.g., 100 vehicles required and 20 spare vehicles is a 20 percent spare ratio. (Revised: September 15, 2009)