The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) introduced three types of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its Metro fleet, as the agency takes the initiative toward implementing a greener mode of public transportation.
Starting Jan. 12, 2016, Metro will begin operating the first of 44 full-size buses, first of 10 paratransit vans and two MV-1 supervisor vehicles, all powered by CNG. The new buses and vans will replace the oldest diesel vehicles currently in use.
The new 40-foot buses manufactured in Plattsburg, N.Y., by Nova Bus, feature modern interior design and lighting, an enhanced courtesy zone for boarding, increased window areas to maximize natural light, full stainless steel structure to provide industry leading safety and increased spacing to offer superior mobility device access.
Nineteen additional full-size buses will be phased into service between now and February 1. The remainder of the 44 buses (24) are expected to be carrying customers throughout the region later this summer.
This investment also realizes additional benefits for all of New York State and the North Country in particular, since these buses were all manufactured at the Nova Bus facility in Plattsburg, NY. Procurement of these vehicles is supported by $3.8 million in new New York State Accelerated Transit Capital funding provided to the NFTA through the 2015-16 New York State budget.
The paratransit vans, manufactured in Canandaigua, N.Y., by Shepard Brothers, will be used to provide an average of 700 rides per day for the 5,945 approved registered customers with special needs who depend on Metro paratransit services for their transportation. Nine additional CNG fueled vans will be incorporated into operation by February 1.
The two MV-1 supervisor vehicles represent a new addition to Metro's fleet. They will provide Metro field supervisors with the unique ability to transport a customer with a mobility challenge, or someone using a wheelchair. This is a new service that Metro will now be able to provide to its customers to further enhance its service capabilities.
Natural gas at Metro's fueling facility will be 99% American-sourced. Through the course of their lives, these Metro's CNG buses will save the atmosphere from more than 1,300 tons of carbon, according to agency officials.
Metro serves 95,000 customers each weekday, using 316 buses over 62 routes in Erie and Niagara counties, in addition to operating a 6.4-mile light rail system through the heart of Buffalo's Central Business District.
New CNG Fueling Station
A $5.9 million state-of-the-art CNG fueling facility at Metro's Frontier Bus facility, 1000 Military Road, Buffalo, is in the commissioning phase and buses are presently being fueled as part of the process. The facility is expected to be fully operational January 25. The fueling station encompasses one and a half acres and features two 250-hp compressors, producing 700 standard cubic feet per minute that will serve four fuel dispensers.
A twin tower dryer, control building, electric motor and control distribution wiring and control system are also part of the project. The functionality of the station will more than cover Metro's needs for the immediate future, but the facility can be expanded to meet new demands going forward.