The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) purchased five new 35-foot buses and 33 new 40-foot buses from Gillig, all powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).

In 2013, COTA began phasing diesel-powered vehicles out of its fleet and all new buses acquired are powered by CNG. COTA now operates 104 CNG buses out of a fleet of 350 active fixed-route buses. The transition of the entire fleet is expected to be complete by 2025.

This commitment, based on both environmental and economic factors, will result in air quality improvements in central Ohio and a substantial reduction in operating fuel costs. In the first two years of CNG operation, COTA has saved more than $1.5 million in fuel costs.

COTA’s 2015 buses include a variety of new features that enhance safety and comfort for passengers, operators and other vehicles on the road:

  • LED low beam headlights for enhanced visibility to other vehicles on the road.
  • An LED stop sign on the rear of the bus for enhanced visibility to other vehicles on the road.
  • Two rear-centered round stop lights replaced with four strip stop lights for enhanced visibility to other vehicles on the road.
  • Fiberglass seats that are more attractive and easier to maintain.
  • An additional security camera inside the bus to enhance safety.

COTA replaces one-twelfth of its fleet each year, based on the average 12-year life span of a bus. COTA’s average fleet age is 4.7 years, compared to the national average of 7.8 years (based on 2013 data).

Each bus is driven from Gillig’s Hayward, Calif. site to COTA’s McKinley Operations Facility. Once a coach is delivered, COTA’s Vehicle Maintenance staff performs the following: pre-service inspection; CNG tank inspection; farebox installation; radio testing setup; Automatic Passenger Counter test certification; air conditioning in-service inspection; and a premium clean.

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