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LCTA unveils CNG-powered buses


Kingston, Luzerne County, Pa — The Luzerne County Transportation Authority showed off the most recent addition to its fleet on Thursday: a bus that runs on compressed natural gas, or CNG.


MARK MORAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER The Luzerne County Transportation Authority showed off its new CNG-powered buses Thursday.


Authority officials took a group of journalists and local dignitaries on a tour of Kingston and Wilkes-Barre on the bus, one of two CNG-powered buses LCTA acquired last month.


After a few weeks of preparation, the buses are ready for service and could be in use on regular routes as very soon, authority Executive Director Norm Gavlick said. With their excellent fuel efficiency, they will provide both long-term cost savings and environmental benefits, he said.


Compressed natural gas is “cleaner-burning and much better for the environment” than diesel fuel, Gavlick said.


The natural gas storage tanks are mounted on the top of the bus, though it otherwise looks much like the authority’s other buses.


Veteran driver Kevin McGee, who maneuvered the bus through late morning traffic and road construction, said it handled better than some of the authority’s older buses he is used to driving, with an improved suspension.


Drivers do not need special training to drive CNG-powered buses, but they do need to learn how to operate the electric wheelchair ramp properly, he said.


The two new buses are the first addition to the authority’s fleet since 2013 and bring that fleet to 40 vehicles. The authority plans to transition more of its fleet to CNG-powered buses in the next year, thanks to a $1.7 million federal grant it received in April.

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