Los Angeles pays $85,000 for an ambulance. Detroit pays $84,000. But the New York City Fire Department pays $133,000 each for its custom-made ambulances – all 480 of them.
At $65 million, the department’s new contract to replace its front-line fleet over five years is the largest and most costly municipal ambulance purchase in United States history, according to industry executives.
The New York Times tries to explain why and considers whether taxpayers are being served. The answer lies in part in the city’s thick set of specifications for its ambulances.