The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) located on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island is the recipient of 24 New Flyer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, being delivered throughout January and February. Operated by BC Transit, the CNG-fuelled buses reduce operating costs as the fuel is less expensive and has a smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional transit vehicles.
The benefits of CNG technology are environmental and economic. According to FortisBC, using CNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, and it also costs 25 to 50 per cent less than traditional diesel fuel. Production of clean burning CNG also supports British Columbians across the province, providing meaningful employment in both rural and urban communities.
“These additional 24 CNG buses will build off the success of the first 25, and will make Nanaimo our first fully CNG fleet,” said BC Transit President and CEO Manuel Achadinha. “We look forward to introducing CNG technology to more communities across the province.”
The first 25 CNG buses arrived in Nanaimo in 2014, and in that time have resulted in a two per cent decrease in operating costs per service hour and 38.5 per cent operating cost recovery in 2015/2016. The buses have also proved very reliable, clocking an average of 53,000 kilometres each in their first year of service.
This successful CNG rollout sets an example for the rest of the province and country of how best in class technology can be used to deliver dependable transportation solutions, that in turn also help create a greener, more sustainable future.
Each of the XN40 Xcelsior New Flyer buses can carry up to 81 passengers. The purchase of the 24 new vehicles represents an investment of CAD 15.4 million (USD 11.6 million) in the RDN Transit System. To help offset the initial costs associated with the purchase of the new CNG buses, FortisBC will provide funding of up to $480,000. This funding represents 50 per cent of the cost differential of CNG buses over diesel counterparts.
“BC Transit has shown the success of compressed natural gas as a fleet fuel for commercial vehicles,” said Sarah Smith, FortisBC Director, Natural Gas for Transportation and Regional Liquefied Natural Gas. “By completing its Nanaimo fleet with compressed natural gas, BC Transit is not only ensuring benefits for the community through a cleaner, more cost-effective fuel but also for all FortisBC gas customers who will see rate benefits of a gas distribution system that is more optimized year-round.”