VIA Metropolitan Transit officially introduced the first of more than 400 new CNG buses, signaling a historic conversion of the agency’s fleet. The change to cleaner, more environmentally friendly buses is part of VIA’s multi-year plan to significantly reduce vehicle emissions, decrease operating costs, and allow VIA to carry out planned service enhancements.
“Today, we celebrate the move toward a new, environmentally sustainable era in public transportation for our region,” VIA President and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. “VIA’s conversion to an all-CNG fleet is where the rubber meets the road for VIA’s commitment to drive innovation and connect our region with a cleaner, ‘greener’ future.”
The new 40-foot buses, manufactured by Nova Bus, have a 67-passenger capacity and will replace aging diesel buses in the current fleet. VIA will replace more than half of its existing fleet by late summer 2017, with the ongoing fleet conversion expected to be complete by 2020. The annual fuel cost savings once the new fleet is completed is estimated at $8.5 million.
VIA says a new 10-pump CNG fueling station will be the largest in the nation once it’s completely operational later this year.
VIA, recognized by the Texas Transit Association in 2016 as the outstanding Metro Transit Authority of the year, serves 14 member cities and the unincorporated areas of Bexar County, operating seven days a week on 90 routes. Last year, VIA provided 40 million rides across the region.