Nathaniel Ford Sr. with one of the new Gillig CNG buses.
Fla.’s Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) unveiled its new compressed natural gas (CNG) bus at a press conference with Mayor Lenny Curry, JTA Board Chairman Scott L. McCaleb and Congresswoman Corrine Brown.
The first group of buses recently arrived after traveling coast to coast from Gillig’s plant in Hayward, Calif. The remainder of the buses will be arriving between now and late November.
Each bus is custom made to JTA specifications and arrives with specific branding. The sleek, aerodynamic design incorporates a raised, raked-back front cap blended into a full length, contoured roofline. Its modern profile makes a distinguished statement.
There are substantial benefits and savings for the JTA and the Northeast Florida region in deploying CNG powered buses at its alternative fuel initiative. CNG is a low cost, clean and domestically produced energy source. JTA anticipates saving $9.2 million over a 15-year period by converting a minimum of 100 buses from diesel to CNG. Construction of the JTA’s CNG fueling facility is underway and on schedule. It will be completed in December and a grand opening for the public access station will be held in January 2016.
“We are excited to join other transit agencies across the Nation who have converted to compressed natural gas,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “The Flyer fleet will be comprised of 100 percent CNG vehicles for a ride that is quieter, more fuel efficient and better for the environment.”
Eleven of the initial 23 buses will be used for the First Coast Flyer™ (Bus Rapid Transit) System. The Flyer will connect customers to jobs, businesses and attractions with features as unique at the region it serves. First Coast Flyer™ will feature direct, high-frequency service; branded stations; complimentary Wi-Fi; Park-n-Ride lots; and real time bus arrival information.
The premium service will offer 10-minute frequency during weekday peak hours and 15-minute frequency in weekday off peak hours.
The First Coast Flyer is planned in five-phases and serves as the backbone to the regional transit system. The North Corridor “Green Line” will launch on Dec. 7, 2015. When completed in 2018, the Flyer system will cover 57 miles of destination travel, and will be the largest bus rapid transit system of its kind in the Southeast.