NE PA County Changing Public Transport Vans to CNG

The Luzerne County Transportation Authority in northeastern PA needs to replace some 60 vans they use to provide transportation for the elderly, children and special-needs persons. After researching it, the County has decided that compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vans are the best choice, due in part to low natural gas prices from an abundance of Marcellus Shale gas in PA.

A Luzerne County agency likely will be among the first — if not the very first — in Northeastern Pennsylvania to switch to compressed natural gas to fuel a fleet of vehicles.

Stanley Strelish, executive director of the Luzerne County Transportation Authority, told the authority board last week that he has been in discussions with UGI Penn Natural Gas about building a compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station in Forty Fort to fuel a fleet of about 60 vans after a transportation agency consolidation takes place in the county next year.

Plans are in the works for the LCTA to consolidate with the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Transportation Department and Hazleton Public Transit. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is pushing for smaller transit systems to consolidate.

The LCTA runs public bus service in northern Luzerne County, HPT runs public bus service in southern Luzerne County, and L/WCTD provides para-transit service to the elderly, children and youth services, and special-needs persons throughout Luzerne and Wyoming counties.

The L/WCTD has about 60 vans that are in poor shape and will need to be replaced over an approximately eight-year period, Strelish said. After researching the options and discussing it with UGI representatives, Strelish said it makes the most sense to go with CNG vans.*

*Wilkes-Barre The Times Leader (Dec 5, 2011) – LCTA is eyeing natural gas vans