North American bus and coach manufacturer NFI Group Inc., through its subsidiary New Flyer of America Inc. (New Flyer), will deliver up to 694 heavy-duty Xcelsior® transit buses to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) as part of a five-year contract award. An undeclared number of buses will be powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
The contract will be comprised of forty-foot compressed natural gas (CNG), forty-foot clean diesel, sixty-foot CNG, and sixty-foot diesel heavy-duty transit buses to support WMATA’s goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and further deliver on high-capacity WMATA routes, with the sixty-foot buses offering 115-passenger capacity. Funding was supported by Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants.
“We are honored to further build our 15-year relationship with integrated, sustainable transportation to move Washingtonians across the nation’s growing Capitol and in partnership with a leading agency in public transportation,” said Wayne Joseph, President, New Flyer of America.
WMATA’s Metrobus, the sixth busiest bus agency in America, provides more than 100 million trips per year in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Since 2001, New Flyer has delivered nearly 1,400 buses to WMATA, including low-emission CNG.
According to WMATA’s 2017 Metrobus Fleet Management Plan, published July 2017, only 30 CNG buses were purchased in FY10-FY15. The report explains why: “The lack of CNG fueling capacity at bus garages has constrained the purchase of CNG buses for expansion. Shepherd Parkway is planned to have a CNG fueling facility by 2018. In the short run all CNG bus purchases will be for replacements of existing CNG buses. Expansion of CNG buses will start after Metro develops additional CNG fueling capacity.”
The plan also refers to procurement plans for 616 replacement buses between FY16 and FY21, of which 364 are CNG. More buses are planned with fuel technology dependent in part on infrastructure development.
Although the breakdown of CNG and diesel buses is not specified in the New Flyer press release, the August 2017 RFP calls for:
- ‘Low-Floor CNG Heavy-Duty Transit Buses 40 ft’ in the amounts of 75 for Base Year FY2019 (delivery between February and June 2019), thereafter Options for 75 for FY2020 and 25 for FY2022;
- ‘Low-Floor CNG Articulated Heavy-Duty Transit Buses – Complete, 60-62 ft.’ in an Option of 22 for FY2020.
The CNG replacements will be procured to relieve Metro’s oldest CNG fleet, which have CNG tank certifications expiring after 15 years.
WMATA’s Metro Facts 2017 publication notes the company at that time was operating 25 x 30 foot, 404 x 40 foot and 20 articulated CNG buses, 449 in total. 100 new New Flyer CNG buses are currently entering the fleet following the exercising of an option in 2016.
Source: NFI Group
Related articles: Washington Metro Adds 100 New Flyer CNG Buses