Buses Are First of 400 for RTC, World CNG Southwest for Next 80
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada – aka Las Vegas RTC – is talking up delivery of 80 compressed natural gas-fueled paratransit buses by a local dealer, RO Bus Sales. They are the first of 400 CNG buses to be delivered through 2017, assuming all options are exercised under a $7.67 million contract.
RO Bus worked with Impco on the Ford E-450 chassis vehicles, which have 6.8-liter gaseous prep engines. The chassis were bodied by Glaval Bus in Indiana, then driven on gasoline to Union City, Ind., where Impco removed the gasoline tanks and installed the dedicated-CNG fuel system with fuel cylinders by Hexagon Lincoln, says RO general manager Bobby Bracken.
“To meet RTC standards for fuel capacity equivalent to its 55-gallon gasoline tanks, RO worked with the bus manufacturer and CNG upfitter to configure two tanks vertically in rear compartments of the unit (a third tank is under the bus) to provide the required rear passenger exit,” RTC says.
The result is a bus with a CNG capacity of 60 gasoline gallon equivalents.
RO completed the vehicles in Las Vegas, installing RTC-mandated equipment including methane detectors. The buses also feature defueling ports “to allow one unit to refuel another, instead of sending a CNG fuel truck or towing the unit off its route,” RTC says, noting that RO Bus added six full-time employees, including a project planner, production foreman, installers and two service technicians.
‘Elevated Our Bar’
“No one has ever up-fitted a paratransit vehicle this size (27-feet long) with this configuration and fuel capacity,” Bracken says in RTC’s announcement.
“RTC has elevated our bar and is committed to working with local businesses. They’re ahead of the game with advancing technology and open to whatever we can do to better support them,” he said.
For the next round of 80 buses, there’ll be more local employment, Bracken told F&F, as the conversions are to be done in Las Vegas by Impco-certified World CNG Southwest. The local installation greatly simplifies the process, he says, as the vehicles can be driven on gasoline from the Glaval plant in Indiana.
That work is to start next month.
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Source: Las Vegas RTC with Fleets & Fuels follow-up