Bus wheels for the proposed Lawrence Transit System could be rolling by March after Lawrence city commissioners agreed Tuesday to lease vehicles until the city's own buses are delivered.
The decision followed last week's announcement that the Federal Transit Administration had rejected the final complaint about the city's selection of companies to provide buses and manage the system.
Since then, the city has signed a contract with MV Transportation of Fairfield, Calif., to manage the system. The contract includes a provision for leasing buses, which the commission will pursue.
Leasing is expected to cost about $230,000, of which about half will be paid by the Federal Transit Administration.
Karin Rexroad, public transit administrator, said she hoped to get the system started with leased buses in early 2001.
Before complaints side-tracked both the bus purchase and bus-management contracts, city officials had projected the service would be up and running by March 2000.
"I expected to have bus service now," Commissioner Erv Hodges said. "I think we ought to move right ahead."
The city will lease 16-passenger buses until its own vehicles can be delivered late next year.