Utah Transit Authority is prepared to run more buses on cleaner fuels with its brand new compressed natural gas fueling station.
The new facility is just behind UTA headquarters in Salt Lake City on 200 south and 600 west. The transit agency is working to eventually transition its entire fleet of more than 500 buses to a combination of compressed natural gas, electric and clean diesel says UTA’s Chief Planning Officer Matt Sibul.
“In addition to just trying to carry more people on transit, we look at the vehicles we run as a part of the air-quality solution along the Wasatch Front,” Sibul says.
The CNG buses emit about 85 percent less pollution than the diesel buses they’re replacing.
The new facility will save time and money, because drivers will no longer have to fuel up off site. And a federal grant primarily paid for construction of the new station. Sibul says it’s designed to fuel up to 250 CNG buses. UTA has only 47 now, but plans to add more. He says natural gas is a good local source of fuel in Utah.
“If you look at the way that we generate electricity in the state, I think about 25 percent of it is generated by burning clean natural gas right now,” Sibul says. “So it’s a real nexus between electric buses and CNG buses. A lot of it coming from the same source of fuel.”
The next step for UTA, Sibul says is building a new bus maintenance and operations facility next to the fueling station. It will replace the aging facility just across from UTA headquarters and provide space to store the growing fleet.