San Diego Transit Fleet Planning Huge Deployment Of Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

Last week, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System approved a plan to potentially purchase more than 500 buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) over the next five years. This deployment will almost entirely phase out the use of diesel among MTS' bus fleet.

‘This is significant for MTS in many ways,’ said Paul Jablonski, MTS' CEO. ‘This puts us on pace to retire the last of our diesel buses from our urban fleet by the end of our contracts.’

The MTS board has authorized the acquisition up to 350 40-foot, low-floor CNG buses from Gillig Corp. and up to 165 60-foot, low-floor, articulated CNG buses from New Flyer Industries Inc.

According to the MTS, the purchases would be executed through 2017. MTS will take delivery of 50 40-foot buses in 2013, and at least 50 additional buses will be ordered over the following four years, for a total of 250 40-foot buses. The contract also allows for an option to purchase an additional 100 buses over the life of the contract to accommodate potential needs due to increased ridership and/or service expansion.

The first 47 of the 60-foot articulated buses will be delivered by early 2014. These buses, along with 25 vehicles delivered in fiscal-year 2015, will be purchased via the San Diego Association of Governments with federal and TransNet funds. MTS will then take delivery on 13 New Flyer buses in FY 2016, which will be funded through the fleet's bus replacement capital improvement project. The contract also includes an option for up to 80 additional buses.

The total value of the contracts could exceed $343 million. MTS notes that at the end of the contract period, more than 95% of its buses will be running on CNG.

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