With $210-Million Purchase Order, DART Begins Transition to Compressed Natural Gas Fleet

Categories: Transportation
DARTCNG_picnik.jpg
DART provides this sneak peek at one of the 452 new CNG-powered buses due to hit Dallas streets in 2013.
In the fall of '09, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board inched toward spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new buses that would be powered by compressed natural gas -- as opposed to the liquefied natural gas and clean diesel presently fueling the current fleet. Mayor Tom Leppert, who spearheaded the city's efforts to give CNG-powered cabs front-of-the-line privileges at Love Field, was most decidedly in favor of the conversion. As his chief of staff, Chris Heinbaugh, told The News earlier this month, Leppert not only views this as an environmental move, but he "cares very much about easing this country off of oil, and not just from an environmental aspect. He looks at it from a national security standpoint too."

Late last night, DART sent word: The board finalized the process on Tuesday by signing a $210-million contract with Anniston, Alabama-based North American Bus Industries, Inc. The contract calls for the purchase of 452 "30-foot and 40-foot heavy-duty, low-floor buses that will replace the current fleet buses which began service in 1998." DART says the new buses will begin service in 2013, and that the transition to CNG will wrap up two years later. Also, notes the release: "DART plans to award a contract in April for the construction of four CNG fueling stations. The stations will be located at its bus and Paratransit maintenance facilities."

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4 comments
claytonauger
claytonauger

If DFW were not in the Barnett Shale - the largest urban gas play in the country, maybe you could argue about the environmental benefits of gas. But when there's more smog-forming pollution from gas drilling than all the cars and trucks in DFW, then your argument is looking a little silly. And that's what happening according to Rick Perry's flunkies in Austin. Not just the mayor, but Councilwoman Koop, the Chair of the Transportation and ENVIRONMENT Committee, and others need to be called out on this hypocrisy. If they were really concerned about air quality, they'd be finding ways to cut the 100-130 tons PER DAY of uncontrolled smog-forming pollution the gas industry emits in the 9-county DFW "non-attainment" area.

El Rey
El Rey

Does this mean I'm not gonna get fumigated by a big black cloud of diesel exhaust every time I'm behind a DART bus and it accelerates? If this is what it means, then I'm all for it!

Cyclists and convertible owners rejoice!

scott
scott

"Leppert not only views this as an environmental move, but he "cares very much about easing this country off of oil, and not just from an environmental aspect. He looks at it from a national security standpoint too.""

Should have read "Leppert sees this as another vanity project that sounds far better than it looks after closer scrutiny." This is a waste of money. How much would it take to carry the trolley line all the way to Methodist? How much to Bishop Arts? Remember, there are fixed costs to that project and costs per mile. Extending the line would cost less than the average per mile. That modest extension wouldn't require more cars, hardly a greater fuel drain, would demand the city run fewer of these buses as well. Is this the best use of DART's funds? How much did T. (self serving) Boone Pickens lobby for this?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Leppert should have specified hot air powered buses. He alone could have powered the fleet well into the 22nd century.

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