Saturday, May 28, 2011


The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada's MAX bus rapid transit system connects downtown Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Strip, Henderson and North Las Vegas.

Los Angeles, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Eugene, Ore., and Pittsburgh were rated as the nation’s leading cities for bus-based transportation because of their high-quality bus rapid transit systems (BRT), according to a new independent study, issued by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). 


Steve Fung said...

At the next board meeting,someone should ask what is the reason why we are not converting to an all natural gas fleet.

Jason McHuff said...

I know TriMet tried natural gas buses in the 90's (until I think they lost their fuel source); I'm not sure how well they worked out.

However, I do know that Salem decided to go with ("clean") diesel for their recent bus purchase, because they found that the extra maintenance needed for CNG outweighed the lower fuel costs.

Another issue is that there would be a cost in setting up the garages for natural gas.

Erik H. said...

TriMet tried LNG, not CNG - big difference.

The reason TriMet stopped using LNG was because they were contracting with PGE which had a LNG powered motor pool at the time, and whose motor pool and fueling facility was conveniently located right next door to TriMet's Center Street Garage. When PGE stopped using LNG, TriMet had no ability to fuel those buses, short of building their own LNG fueling facility. Since the fleet of buses was small (I want to say only 20 or so buses - if that!), the small fleet was retired.

Cherriots did switch to CNG in the 1990s but as Jason stated, their recent bus orders (Gillig Low-Floors) were diesel buses. Pierce Transit is 100% CNG fueled; as are many bus fleets in California due to California's emissions laws.

The "clean" diesel (ULSD), in terms of emissions output, is VERY close to CNG, so there's little advantage to CNG these days unless you are already set up for it. CNG powered buses have their own maintenance issues as well...the diesel-hybrids seem to be the new thing and is well-received by 99% of transit agencies (TriMet being the exception) because not only do they benefit from using USLD (or biodiesel) but also get better fuel mileage, and lower maintenance expense. The drawback, of course, is the 20% or so premium up-front cost. In the case of King County Metro, however, they got the feds to pay 100% of the hybrid premium, so the cost to the local folks was identical to a straight diesel bus. (Whereas, TriMet strangely refuses federal funding for new buses...)

Jason McHuff said...

Whereas, TriMet strangely refuses federal funding for new buses...

Then why does the new budget say (on page 7/PDF page 10) that $8 million of the cost of the new bus purchase (including $2 million for hybrids, and I've been told that TriMet asked for more) is coming from FTA grants?