SMART Introduces CNG Buses

South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) invites the public to view the city’s two new, 21-passenger Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the SMART Operations Building, 8455 SW Elligsen Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070.

During the event, Mayor Tim Knapp will fuel a bus using the Compressed Natural Gas fueling station. The Mayor and others will say a few words about the process involved in bringing two alternative-fuel vehicles to the city’s transit system. SMART will also provide tours of the new buses and rides for those who are interested.

The CNG buses cost $105,000 compared to $90,000 for diesel buses. Maintenance and fuel cost savings are expected to outweigh the additional cost in purchase price. SMART officials will monitor performance of the two buses for a year to see if they are providing a cost savings. Compressed Natural Gas is a clean burning alternative fuel and reduces Oxides of Nitrogen, an EPA regulated pollutant.

“Our goal is to achieve cost savings, protect the environment by producing less tailpipe emissions, and using a domestic fuel. If all of these things fall into place we will be very pleased.” said Fleet Services Manager Scott Simonton.

SMART looked at other alternatives fuels such as propane, diesel hybrids, gas hybrids and even fully electrical vehicles. The advantage of CNG vehicles is they operate quieter than diesel engines with a reduction in exhaust fumes. If using CNG buses proves to be economically sound, other buses or vehicles in SMART’s and the city’s fleet could be converted to CNG.

The CNG buses replace two, older-model diesel buses and are expected to be in service by the end of November. Both buses will be used on a variety of routes including the Crosstown, 6 and 2X routes.


This article was first published by Wilsonville KATU.

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