Grand Valley Transit eyes two more natural-gas buses

Though it may be more than a year before they arrive, two new compressed natural gas-powered buses are being planned for the Grand Valley Transit fleet.

The additional new gasoline-spurning buses will double the number of CNG people-movers that GVT has in service, after adding its first two CNG vehicles last November, according to Mesa County Regional Transportation Planning Office Manager Todd Hollenbeck.

He said those two vehicles have fit in nicely with the rest of the fleet so far.

“Like anytime you get some new vehicles in, there’s a learning process,” Hollenbeck said. “But they’ve been working well, and we’re certainly pleased with the results.”

He said other than a slight hiccup with a sensor on at least one of the new buses, which was covered under warranty, service on the new CNG buses has been minimal. The county estimates it’s saved nearly $9,000 in fuel costs since adding the two CNG buses last year.

The grant for the two new buses totals $650,000, and is part of the national State of Good Repair Program, administered by the Federal Transit Administration. Hollenbeck said a funding match of about $163,000 must still be worked out.

Even if the funding and the specifics of the order are lined up, GVT is still probably a year out from receiving the new vehicles, Hollenbeck said. Since the order is relatively small, it will need to piggy-back the request on a larger order from another transit system to get the best deal.

“We’re still trying to get all the details ironed out,” Hollenbeck said. “If we’re lucky we’ll have (the two new buses) in service at the end of 2013.”


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