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Compressed Natural Gas Buses for AMTRAN

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Categories:


Amtran is moving to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) with an order for six new buses to be delivered in June 2018.

On October 19, the Amtran Board of Directors voted to purchase six new, made-in-America, CNG buses for a total cost of almost $3 million.  The funding comes from PennDOT and the Federal Transit Administration.

Support from Bill Shuster

According to Congressman Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, “This is a great opportunity for Amtran to move toward CNG-fueled buses.  I was happy to support their federal grant application to help purchase new buses as part of this statewide CNG project.  Amtran will finally be able to retire buses in their fleet that are more than 40 years old.”

Statewide Public-Private Partnership

In March, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced that the Trillium CNG team was selected for the department’s statewide Compressed Natural Gas  Public-Private Partnership (P3) project.

Through the $84.5 million project, Trillium will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain CNG fueling stations at 29 public transit agency sites (including Amtran) through a 20-year P3 agreement.  Stations will be constructed over the next five years and the firm will also make CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities. 

In Altoona, there will be a fueling station and upgrades to Amtran’s maintenance building to accommodate CNG buses.  (There will not be a public fueling option at Amtran at this time, but that could change in the future.)  The project in Altoona is scheduled to be completed in spring of 2018 shortly before the new CNG buses are delivered.  Locally, The EADS Group is working with Amtran and Trillium.

The bus purchase is part of a statewide procurement consortium.  The six CNG buses will be delivered in the summer of 2018 from American bus manufacturer Gillig’s all-new plant in northern California.

Fuel Savings

PennDOT expects transit agencies to see significant savings due to the project. Based on current CNG, diesel, and gasoline prices as well as fuel usage, agencies could save more than $10 million annually statewide. After 10 years, the department estimates that the project will pay for itself with the estimated $100 million in savings