In Omaha, Nebraska, the city’s Metro is changing the makeup of its fleet with the introduction of Compressed Natural gas (CNG) buses. The transit authority has awarded New Flyer of America Inc. (New Flyer) an order for 35-foot Xcelsior® heavy-duty transit buses. By mid-January, the city will be operating 14 CNG buses.
The buses are low-floor vehicles capable of “kneeling”, making the boarding process more convenient and fully accessible, while maintaining Omaha Metro’s 100 percent ADA accessible fleet. The order will replace older, existing buses with more fuel efficient models.
The buses are a part of Omaha Metro’s plan to reduce fleet emissions through replacement. In the last few months, Omaha Metro has replaced nine paratransit vans with CNG-powered vehicles and is in the process of installing 50 durable, solar-powered bus shelters.
Metro took delivery of the nine CNG-powered vans for its paratransit service, MOBY, in June. These were the first CNG vehicles introduced to Omaha Metro and marked a turning point toward more environmentally-friendly options. The van purchase was made possible by a $588,093 federal grant and matched by a $92,454 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Metro funded the remaining $120,453 of the $801,000 purchase from Master’s Transportation, who won the competitively-bid contract through the State of Nebraska.
To make natural gas even more accessible, Metro is partnering with Creighton University and the Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) to install a public fueling station near the Metro office. By the end of this year, a dedicated extension to the Metro facility will fuel the growing number of Metro buses and vans powered by natural gas.
Metro is responsible for the operation of fixed route, express/commuter bus downtown weekday rush hour, and Americans with Disabilities Act Complementary Paratransit Service within the city limits of Omaha. Its mass transit system includes approximately 4,000 posted bus stops and delivers over 4.5 million rides per year.