VIA Metropolitan Transit, the mass transit agency serving San Antonio, Texas and its surrounding municipalities, this week officially dedicated its new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station at the regional transit agency’s San Antonio campus. The 10,980 square foot compressor compound stands as the largest in North America.
The 10-lane station began operating in 2017 to support the first of VIA’s new CNG-powered fleet that debuted in observance of Earth Day. VIA’s full fleet conversion will be complete in 2025. More than half of VIA’s diesel revenue vehicles have been replaced with CNG buses to date.
Since it began operation, the station has saved over $1 million in fuel costs. The facility’s dedication is meant to commemorate VIA’s first full year of CNG bus service and raise awareness of Ozone Action Season in San Antonio. Installation of the new fueling station on 1720 N. Flores St. and continued procurement of lower-emissions vehicles will make VIA the largest customer of CPS Energy’s CNG fuel program.
“The CNG fueling station services a new generation of VIA buses and highlights our role as an industry leader to drive innovation that improves air quality throughout the region,” VIA President and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “Through strategic and community partnerships, VIA’s efforts to ensure a more mobile future include benchmarks for efficiency, substantial fuel savings, and infrastructure improvements that come with building a modern transportation system for our region.”
VIA’s CNG program is part of a multi-year, community-driven plan to build a better bus system while significantly reducing vehicle emissions, decreasing operating costs, and planning service enhancements. Once complete, the transformed fleet will bring a 97-percent reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and further support the agency’s commitment to environmental stewardship. The annual fuel cost savings are estimated at $8.5 million, and the maintenance savings, over a five-year period, are estimated at $2 million.
The Alamo Area Council of Governments recognized VIA’s efforts in April 2018 with an Air Quality Stewardship Award for taking action to improve air quality and serve as a “beacon to other businesses, agencies and organizations in the region.”
Trillium CNG, part of the Love’s Family of Companies, was contracted in 2016 to design and build the CNG facility. The new station includes the addition of 10 CNG dispensers operated by seven 700-horsepower compressors, with a total flow rate of more than 85 gallons per minute. The existing dispensers – 10 diesel fuel and 6 propane – will be phased out once the conversion to CNG is complete.
VIA’s new CNG buses are manufactured by Nova. The 40-foot buses have a 67-passenger capacity. The contract with Nova Bus calls for the delivery of 425 vehicles over a five-year period.