Masivo Capital SAS, operator of the integrated public transport system in Bogotá D.C., has added new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to its supplemental routes. The introduction of Scania Euro VI buses, the first such buses to operate in Bogotá, will aid the city’s goal to cut pollution from transportation.The operation of the new fleet will be supported by Gas Natural Fenosa, which offers full service at its natural gas refueling stations. Operating costs will be lower than traditional vehicles, with lower equivalent fuel prices and extended maintenance periods. And they are quieter, further reducing operational impact.
The buses are a part of Bogotá al Sistema Integrado de Transporte Público — SITP (tr. Integrated Public Transport System), the relatively new transport system of Bogotá.
The Euro VI buses are one of Bogota’s initiatives aimed at reducing air pollution, where it is determined that the major cause is emissions of public transport vehicles. These new buses run on CNG only. According to the Ministry of Environment, Bogota was the third most polluted city in the region, considering that there are about nine thousand diesel buses as well as industrial waste and toxic waste. Also, the company determined that January 2016 was the most polluted month in the past three years, registering pollution between 33% and 45%.
Similarly, a study by the National University of Colombia mentions that reducing pollution between 2010 and 2020 could prevent 21,000 deaths in people over 30 years and 900 deaths in children under one year.
René Perea, Vice President of Natural Gas Vehicles in Gas Natural Fenosa, emphasised the importance of having dedicated natural gas buses. Cleaner air will improve the health of parents, children, siblings and the whole family.
Transmilenio, the Bogotá BRT (bus rapid transit) and part of SITP, trialled the natural gas buses as a clean energy option, undertaking tours of the busiest parts of the city in order to demonstrate its high performance on steep hills. The tests proved fully satisfactory.
Large fleets of natural gas buses have been operating in the Integrated Mass Transit Systems of Cartagena, as well as in other cities like Medellin and Barranquilla, for some time. This has proven the clear trend of the country toward the use of clean energy in transport, aligning itself with best practices globally. Countries using natural gas vehicles in their mass transit systems include Czech Republic with 26% of its buses registered in 2015 with natural gas, Spain with 85% approved to operate in 2016, the Philippines, Mexico and Bangkok, among other fleets.
In Colombia there are approximately 543,000 natural gas vehicles (NGVs), the third largest number of conversions in Latin America.
Currently, Gas Natural Fenosa has 66 CNG stations in Bogota, which together with other operators total 168 in the capital. Nationally there are 749 stations that enable travel throughout the country.
(Source: Gas Natural Fenosa Colombia)