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Pace opens CNG fueling facility in Markham

New Pace Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Bus

Pace is going green- and expects to save some green at the same time as the agency begins the process of replacing its fleet of diesel buses with models powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). Pace leaders were joined earlier this week by federal, state and local officials at the dedication of an all-new fueling facility at its South Division garage in Markham on which the agency recently completed construction. When the buses enter service this summer, Pace will be the first transit agency in the Chicago area and the third in the state to adopt CNG technology for its fleet.

Pace has taken delivery of its first 20 CNG buses, with an additional 71 on order that will replace the remaining diesel buses at Pace South Division upon arrival. The first CNG buses will enter service this summer following completion of vehicle testing, staff training and additional garage retrofits to accommodate the CNG vehicles. Once the entire South Division fleet is converted to CNG-powered buses, Pace estimates up to $1 million will be saved on its fuel costs versus what is spent today on diesel fuel, and those savings will rise as other garages are converted to CNG operations in the future.

According to economic impact formulas, the project created up to 300 direct and indirect jobs. Additionally, CNG is produced domestically, reducing dependence on foreign oil and supporting economic development in the U.S. energy sector.

Pace studied the experiences of other U.S. transit agencies with various forms of green technology including CNG, hybrids and electric buses and determined that CNG would provide the best economic benefit. Roughly two in five transit buses in the United States is powered by alternative fuels, with one in five powered by CNG. Los Angeles Metro estimates it realizes operating cost savings between 10 and 20% since it retired its last diesel bus in 2011 in favor of an all-CNG fleet, and reduced the release of greenhouse gases by about 300,000 pounds per day as well.

Because CNG is a clean-burning fuel, Pace can meet ever-tightening EPA emissions guidelines without costly equipment designed to trap particles that diesel engines release into the air. Pace officials also note other environmental and financial benefits: without the carbon deposits left in engines by diesel fuel, buses can operate on longer intervals between oil changes and will no longer need potentially expensive midlife engine overhauls.


What's New at Pace?

 »  Take the American Bus Benchmarking Group Transit Survey
 »  Niles Free Bus service changes effective May 2
 »  Ventra Vending Machines
 »  Express service to Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Toyota Park, and Allstate Arena
 »  South Division closed to public
 »  ADA Reasonable Accommodations Policy
 »  Paratransit pick up/drop off points at popular destinations
 »  Office of Executive Inspector General provides oversight
 »  A letter from the Acting Executive Inspector General

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