Transpo has selected a contractor for their new compressed natural gas facility. California-based EFS West was selected for the $3.8 million facility, which is a partnership between the city of South Bend and Transpo. The facility is being funded through federal grants.
The facility will fuel Transpo’s new line of mostly federally-funded compressed natural gas buses.
The 16 new buses come from a company known as New Flyer, whose manufacturing plants are in Minnesota and Winnipeg, Canada. The New Flyer Xcelsior model will replace Transpo’s aging Gillig Phantoms, which are gasoline-powered. The new buses will have four additional seats.
The Federal Transit Administration paid for 80 percent of the cost of the new buses. Transpo spent $1.4 million as part of a required 20 percent local matching fund.
Transpo estimates that the buses will save $300,000 in the first year.
“Not only will we see a significant fuel savings, but we will see an overall reduction in operating costs as the new buses will be less costly to maintain,” Transpo marketing director Amy Hill told us last fall.
The buses, which were delivered last fall, have yet to be put into operation due to the delays with the compressed natural gas fueling facility.
The region’s public transportation entity originally said that construction of the facility would begin last fall with an opening date of early 2015. Construction is now expected to begin in March with an opening date in late July 2015.
The new facility will be the first public fast-fill compressed natural gas station in the region. It will be capable of fueling six vehicles at once. The facility — which will be built on Transpo’s existing property south of downtown — will be open to the public.