RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden joined other local officials today at the new Pace fueling facility at its South Division garage in Markham. The suburban bus agency will be the first transit agency in Chicagoland and the third in the state to operate buses fueled by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
Pace has 20 CNG buses, with an additional 71 on order that will replace the remaining diesel buses at Pace South Division. This division is responsible for the operation of 21 bus routes covering the south suburbs and south side of Chicago. The first CNG buses will enter service this summer after vehicle testing, staff training and additional garage retrofits to accommodate the CNG vehicles. Once the entire South Division fleet is converted to CNG-powered buses, Pace estimates the agency will save 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.
Construction of the fueling facility and garage retrofitting is a combined $12 million project, paid for using Pace-issued bonds to be paid off over the next ten years. The RTA is proud to have allocated funds for the purchase of the new CNG buses.