Ohio’s Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) has signed an agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to develop and operate a new compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel station to support the transition of half of SARTA’s bus fleet to natural gas power. Located in Canton, Stark County, Ohio, the new fast-fill public access Clean Energy CNG station will operate 24/7 to support SARTA buses as well as other CNG vehicles operating in the area. Station opening is projected for the fourth quarter, 2011.
Over the next two years, the transit agency expects to deploy 9 new CNG fixed-route 32-passenger buses and 17 CNG paratransit buses as replacements for 50% of the diesel models in its fleet.
“SARTA places high value on the reduced fuel costs and environmental benefits offered by natural gas. Across the United States, Clean Energy is partnering with many leading public transit agencies like SARTA to reliably fuel over 5,500 buses daily nationwide,” said James Harger, Chief Marketing Officer, Clean Energy.
SARTA CEO Kirt Conrad said, “SARTA strives to be energy and cost efficient. By switching at least half our fleet over the next two years to CNG buses, it will allow us to reduce our fuel costs by over $300,000. SARTA can also begin using a domestic fuel source and reduce carbon emissions. In addition, we are proud to be the first in Stark County to provide a public CNG fueling station.”
Costing less than diesel, natural gas fuel produces up to 23%-percent lower greenhouse gas emissions in medium to heavy-duty vehicles. Using natural gas fuel can prevent tons of emissions from entering the atmosphere throughout the operating life of a typical bus fleet, while also lowering a transit agency’s operating costs significantly.
SARTA provides an average of 2.1 million passenger rides each year.
(This article compiled using information from a Clean Energy Fuels Corporation press release)