First 20 Eldorado Axess Buses Delivered, 71 More on Order
The Chicago area’s Pace Suburban Bus Service said this week that it’s begun the process of replacing its diesel buses with compressed natural gas vehicles. The agency has taken delivery of the first 20 CNG-fueled 40-foot Axess buses from ElDorado National-California – and has 71 more on order. updated on April 4
“When the buses enter service this summer, Pace will be the first transit agency in the Chicago area and the third in the state to adopt CNG technology for its fleet,” says a release.
The new buses will replace the remaining diesels at Pace South Division, which is responsible for the operation of 21 bus routes covering the south suburbs and south side of Chicago.
$1 Million in Savings
The CNG buses cost $479,454 apiece, which is $52,275 more than a diesel vehicle, Pace says. But, once the entire South Division fleet is converted to CNG, Pace estimates savings of “up to $1 million on its fuel costs versus what it spends today on diesel fuel, and those savings will rise as other garages are converted to CNG operations in the future.”
The agency anticipates fuel consumption of 3.5 to 4.0 miles per DGE/diesel gallon equivalent of CNG.
‘The Best Economic Return’
Pace says it studied the experiences of other U.S. transit agencies with various forms of green technology including CNG, hybrids and electric buses, “and determined that CNG would provide the best economic return.”
Pace is spending $8.95 million on mid-life and CNG improvements at the South Division facility. J-W Power-packaged and Ozinga Energy-supplied equipment includes five 200-horsepower Ariel compressors, all driven by electricity, as well as two Kraus CNG dispensers, nine ASME storage vessels, and an automatic dual vessel dryer by PSB. Pace pegs the cost of the CNG fueling equipment at $1.97 million.
A $12 Million Project
Ozinga Energy will manage warranties on the Pace equipment. The company is a unit of Chicago-based Ozinga Brothers, which operates a fleet of CNG-fueled ready-mix concrete vehicles (F&F, October 11, 2013).
The Pace Suburban project includes a total remodeling of the front office, driver’s area and maintenance mezzanine, as well as a new hot water heating system, upgraded ventilation, in-house brake meter, upgraded lighting in the parking garage, and three new overhead doors on the south wall.
“We’re making a significant investment in clean-burning compressed natural gas to improve our environmental sustainability and also achieve some potentially major cost savings,” said Pace board chair Richard Kwasneski. “As we achieve these fuel cost savings, we plan to reinvest the resources into enhancing and expanding service.”
Construction of the fueling facility and garage retrofitting is a combined $12 million project, the agency says, “paid for using Pace-issued bonds to be paid off over the next ten years.”
John Johnson is maintenance superintendent at Pace.
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Source: Pace Suburban Bus Service with Fleets & Fuels follow-up