Miami-Dade Transit

Miami-Dade Transit may convert buses to natural gas

 
 
Bus driver Lisa Everette pumps diesel into an diesel/electric hybrid bus. Miami-Dade Transit Authority plans to convert some facilities and some buses for the use of Natural Gas as the new fuel source.
Bus driver Lisa Everette pumps diesel into an diesel/electric hybrid bus. Miami-Dade Transit Authority plans to convert some facilities and some buses for the use of Natural Gas as the new fuel source.
C.M. GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF

achardy@ElNuevoHerald.com

Miami-Dade Transit is exploring options to convert its fleet of 817 Metrobuses from diesel to compressed natural gas, department director Ysela Llort said.

“One of the things we are going to be looking at is changing our bus fleet to CNG,” Llort, the MDT director, said recently in a speech to Spanish business executives in Miami. “[County Mayor Carlos Gimenez] believes the time has come to get rid of diesel and to get on with something that is an American product, that is a green product, and that can impact our fuel costs.”

Llort’s statement marks the most significant development in Metrobus service in Miami-Dade since former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood traveled to Miami a year ago and delivered a $10 million grant to MDT to replace some of the diesel buses with hybrid diesel-electric vehicles. LaHood made the announcement three days before MDT opened its Metrorail line to Miami International Airport.

Though MDT officials said they could not provide additional details yet, Llort said in her July 11 speech that initially the department plans to acquire up to 300 CNG buses as part of its bus replacement plan in the coming years, along with the infrastructure required to fuel and maintain the CNG vehicles.

“In our case in Miami-Dade Transit what it would mean is the garages would be converted from diesel to CNG, “ Llort said. “It’s a substantial package, and we’re interested to see what the private sector can offer.”

Miami-Dade Transit is looking at current trends of public-private partnerships within the industry, MDT officials said.

Llort did not say how much the conversion would cost. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which has begun a CNG conversion plan, said in June that it began receiving the first 10 of 24 new CNG buses at a cost of about $450,000 per vehicle. That’s about $50,000 more than the average cost of a diesel bus, according to UTA general manager Michael Allegra, who was quoted in The Salt Lake Tribune.

More than 35 percent of public transportation buses in the United States now use alternative fuels such as CNG or hybrid (electric-diesel) systems, according to the American Public Transportation Association, whose figures for early 2011 showed that 18.6 percent of transit buses nationwide ran on CNG, liquefied natural gas and blends.

Llort said MDT would issue an “intent to negotiate” package asking for proposals, but did not say when the package would go out. Llort spoke during a meeting of the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce held at the offices of the Greenberg Traurig international law firm in Miami.

CNG is natural gas compressed to less than 1 percent of the volume it generally occupies. Compressed natural gas combustion produces greenhouse gases like Diesel and other fossil fuels do, but experts consider CNG cleaner.

The Metrobus fleet carries the bulk of riders transported everyday by MDT which also operates the elevated train services known as Metrorail and Metromover. Of the more than 300,000 passengers who use the three transit services, more than 200,000 ride the buses on average on weekdays.

MDT is a department of Miami-Dade government. It is considered the 15th largest transit department in the United States, and the largest in Florida.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Tiffani G. Lee, a partner at Holland and Knight law firm, and two of her mentees Da'Morus A. Cohen and Allison Kernisky, both associates at the firm, pose in front of a portrait of the late Chesterfield Smith, founder of Holland and Knight and mentor to Lee, Monday, July 28, 2014, at the firm's offices in Brickell.

    WORK/LIFE BALANCING ACT

    Fostering diversity in the workplace: how to navigate the challenges

    As a young lawyer, Tiffani Lee found a partner who believed in her ability and helped push her up to the top ranks of Miami’s Holland & Knight. Most often, the opposite is true: Organizational mechanisms at firms push out women and people of color.

  •  
Florida's annual two-day lobster mini-season begins at 12:01am Wednesday morning. Ryan Bancroft, of Weston, measures one of the four lobsters he had caught so far on at the start of last year’s season, free diving off of a kayak in the waters of Biscayne Bay near Fishermen's Channel.

    LOBSTER

    Mini-season beckons divers

    Absenteeism may be higher than usual at South Florida workplaces Wednesday and Thursday due to the annual dive derby known as lobster mini-season.

  •  
Fatin Chikh Omar 14, with her brothers Muaath 6, and Zakaria 5, with their father Mohamad in their Broward County apartment, July 22, 2014. The Syrian family recently moved to South Florida to escape the violence back home. They came on a travelers visa and are looking for a way to stay here.

    Immigration

    Syrians find safe haven in South Florida

    The ongoing civil war in Syria has prompted scared families to flee the war-torn country.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category