Engine getting programmed specifically for Gunnison Valley
By Mark Reaman
A few hiccups withstanding, the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority board is full-steam-ahead on adding more buses to the fleet that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The board voted Thursday, February 8 to purchase a new CNG bus that should be ready for next ski season.
The current CNG bus has had a few mechanical issues that have occasionally taken it offline, but engineers and mechanics have worked diligently to address the problems. RTA executive director Scott Truex said he and the staff of Alpine Express, which runs the bus system, have confidence in the CNG vehicles. In fact, the 2018 version of the CNG engine was tested last week in the valley so it could be calibrated at this altitude and with the CNG fuel used in the area. The engine will be programmed with the data specific to the region.
“The current CNG bus seems to be rolling along pretty well,” Truex told the board. “It has 30,000 miles on it right now so it is being utilized.”
In a memo to the board, Truex said the goal is to purchase five CNG vehicles for the seven-bus fleet.
Before purchasing the vehicle from Motor Coach Industries, MCI agreed to install the 2018 Cummins motor as part of the deal. The total cost for the motor coach, along with several requested changes from the last one purchased, is about $700,000. A federal grant will cover most of that cost, with a donation of $559,583 that is allocated through CDOT.
The new CNG bus with the 2018 motor should be delivered in the fall of 2018.