SMART has added 61 new Connector paratransit propane autogas fuel system buses. This, says SMART, makes them the second largest propane autogas powered paratransit fleet in Michigan and one of the top five largest in the country.
“SMART is committed to responsibly and eco-consciously serving the communities in southeast Michigan. By using domestically produced propane we help support local jobs and our economy,” said John C. Hertel, general manager. “In addition, using the autogas technology will improve our operations, lower costs and preserve the environment in which we work, live and play.”
SMART says the propane autogas investment will reduce emissions, save money, and extend the life of the vehicles. The total fuel and maintenance savings is projected to be $1.1 – $1.7 million over the lifetime of the fleet with a return on investment of less than four months. In addition, SMART says the cost of building on-site refueling stations at each of its three terminals was determined to be less expensive than other refueling station options. The vehicles and propane stations are grant funded.
“Residents in Southeast Michigan are breathing easier due to SMART’s decision to fuel paratransit buses with propane autogas,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, whose company did the propane autogas conversions. “Plus, this abundant alternative transportation fuel means reduced operating and ownership costs for the transit agency.”
Delivery of all 61 SMART Connector autogas vehicles has been on-going since February and to date 14 vehicles have been placed into service. The full fleet is expected to be in service by the end of July.