In Texas, the Houston Downtown Management District plans to launch a free compressed natural gas (CNG) bus service called Greenlink to ferry employees and residents along a 2.5 mile route starting in spring, reports the Houston Chronicle. Seven buses will ply the route, funded in part through tax assessments on downtown properties and through the sponsorship of British gas giant BG Group and Houston First, a city corporation that operates city-owned buildings. They will share an estimated annual operating costs of $1.2 million.
Seven CNG-powered buses will loop from the convention center through the heart of downtown Houston to City Hall, making about 20 stops along the way and reconnecting these hubs of the city. The service replaces a trolley bus service that ceased operation in 2005.
Two Federal Transit Administration grants totaling $2.25 million will help pay for buses. The district, in turn, reportedly plans to monitor emissions from the fleet and make the information public.
“We’re trying to increase demand for natural gas and help improve the environment,” said David Keane, vice president of policy and corporate affairs for BG Group, adding that he hopes the program will encourage Metro, which is already testing natural gas buses, to consider making a switch.