Michigan Mass Rolls Out Propane

Joanna Schroeder

Flint, Michigan Mass Transportation Agency (Flint MTA) has rolled-out 16 new propane buses. According to Blue Bird, this is the largest one-time Propane Vision bus purchase to date for commercial use. Flint MTA estimates that when compared to the replaced diesel buses, each propane bus will reduce 800 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 35 pounds of particulate matter per year.

Photo credit: Blue Bird

Photo credit: Blue Bird

“This roll-out signals an expansion for Blue Bird into the transit bus market,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. “We’re bringing decades of experience in school buses and expertise in affordable, alternative fuel buses to transit agencies and public transportation riders.”

The commercial version of the Blue Bird Propane Vision, which comes with a 5-year, 100,000-mile warranty, is Altoona-test rated for 350,000 miles or 10 years. Each 39-seat bus is equipped with a 6.8L Ford engine, a ROUSH CleanTech fuel system and a 100-gallon fuel tank.

Federal Transit Administration funding was used to purchase the propane buses. In addition, Flint MTA secured a yearlong rate of 75 cents per gallon for propane autogas. When combines with the current federal alternative fuel tax credit, Flint MTA’s per gallon cost is 39 cents. The agency averages 20,000 miles per month on the buses, using them for six hours daily during peak service route times.

“Blue Bird Propane Visions buses allow Flint to provide green, affordable public transportation while saving taxpayer dollars,” said Ed Benning, general manager and CEO for Flint MTA. “These federal funds cover 80 percent of the alternative fuel vehicle cost, with a 20 percent local match. The MTA worked closely with Blue Bird to ’Altoona-test’ the bus — an outcome that will benefit all transit agencies that acquire these buses.

Alternative Vehicles, Propane