It’s not quite the end of the road for two out of service buses.

CNC has received a donation of a pair of buses, which will bring valuable training opportunities to the students in the Heavy Mechanical Trades program.

The donation by Pacific Western Transit and BC Transit with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the City of Prince George as funding partners gives a second life to the buses that have reached the end of their service life.

“Through our investment in these buses, we are helping to provide automotive and heavy mechanical students hands-on learning,” said Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena.

A pair of buses donated by BC Transit and Pacific Western Transit to the College of New Caledonia. (Ethan Ready, MyPGNow)

Heavy Mechanical Trades program coordinator Craig Hull told MyPGNow that while they try to work with the various industries to ensure they meet their needs, at times they don’t have the necessary equipment to efficiently complete the hands-on training required.

“Buses are very specialized for our truck and trailer mechanics,” said Hull regarding the various componentry that comes in buses. “This gives us the opportunity for our students to work with this actual type of machinery.”

Often, automotive and heavy mechanical students are unable to get exposure to a transit bus until they are employed by a place such as BC Transit, or one of its operating partners, as an apprentice, utility person, technician, body person or mechanic.

“Some of these buses have some very advanced pneumatic systems to open the doors, windshield wipers, and lots of different things. Actually seeing how it works gives them a concept of how it works,” said Hull.

“It also gets them in that area of the industry. Thinking of becoming a bus mechanic is not on the popular radar, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but they just don’t think of it and when they do they’re a little afraid because they’ve never worked on a bus.”

The donated buses complement the commercial transport component of CNC’s Heavy MEchanical Trades program. Though its curriculum teaches about working on buses, the college was unable to provide its students with the hands-on experience of such concepts being taught in its classrooms until now.