Sun Tran Introduces 5 CNG Buses

Feb. 17, 2015

The city of Tucson and Sun Tran will introduce five new Sun Tran 35-foot-long buses into its fleet. The new buses utilize Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), meeting the livability goals of the city of Tucson by helping improve air quality in the region.  The five buses will replace 14-year-old CNG-fueled buses, decreasing the average age of Sun Tran’s fleet from 5.97 years to 5.51 years.

The standard size of a Sun Tran bus is 40-ft. The purchase of smaller CNG-fueled buses comes after evaluating outside agency studies and reports to determine the standard industry approach to balancing fleet vehicle types to maximize service efficiencies. Research showed smaller buses have the following advantages:

  • Lower operating/maintenance costs and better fuel economy
  • Better maneuverability in neighborhoods and through roundabouts
  • Provides some flexibility for specialized service

The new buses utilize a newer CNG engine, which produces lower emissions than standard fueled vehicles and older CNG vehicles.  The newer technology of the EMP cooling system utilizes eight electric fans in place of an engine-driven fan, which allows for better fuel economy and runs the system at optimal temperatures to ensure more efficient cooling of the engine.

“The purchase of these new buses was in response to the needs of the community and demonstrates the City’s and Sun Tran’s commitment to providing a healthy environment,” said Kate Riley, general manager of Sun Tran.  “Sun Tran understands the importance of this investment as it contributes to a sustainable community.”

All of the replacement buses are equipped with 30 seats and are low-floor, offering ramps and kneeling features for the convenient boarding of passengers with disabilities, as well as an on-board camera system for added passenger safety.

Purchased with funding from the Federal Transportation Administration, city of Tucson and Regional Transportation Authority, the CNG-fueled buses cost just over $508,000 each.