VIA Metropolitan Transit, based in San Antonio TX, officially introduced the first of more than 400 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses this week, signalling a historic conversion of the agency’s fleet and VIA’s salute to Earth Day. The move affirms VIA’s focus on environmentally sustainable mobility in the region. A new, 10-pump CNG fueling station will be the largest in the nation once it’s completely operational later this year.
The change to cleaner, “greener” buses is part of VIA’s multi-year plan to significantly reduce vehicle emissions, decrease operating costs, and allow VIA to carry out planned service enhancements. Once complete, the transformed fleet will bring a 97-percent reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and further the agency’s role as an industry leader in environmental stewardship.
“Today, we celebrate the move toward a new, environmentally sustainable era in public transportation for our region,” VIA President and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “VIA’s conversion to an all-CNG fleet is where the rubber meets the road for VIA’s commitment to drive innovation and connect our region with a cleaner, ‘greener’ future.”
The new buses, manufactured by Nova Bus, are 40 feet by 102 inches, with a 67-passenger capacity. The more modern, much quieter models feature a complete suite of technological systems including GPS locating, cameras for enhanced safety, automatic passenger counters to streamline boarding, and a public information system for real-time passenger stop alerts. They will replace ageing buses in the current fleet, which are between 12 and 15 years old. VIA will replace more than half of its existing fleet by late summer 2017, with the ongoing fleet conversion expected to be complete by 2020. The annual fuel cost savings once the new fleet is completed is estimated at $8.5 million.
VIA provides regional multimodal transportation options that connects the San Antonio community to opportunity, support economic vitality, and enhance quality of life throughout the region. VIA, recognized by the Texas Transit Association in 2016 as the outstanding Metro Transit Authority of the year, serves 14 member cities and the unincorporated areas of Bexar County, operating seven days a week on 90 routes. Last year, VIA provided 40 million rides across the region.
(Source: VIA Metropolitan Transit)