Fully Compressed Natural Gas Powered Fleet in Nanaimo Creates Jobs and a Greener Future for British Columbians

Jan 19, 2017
Transit System: Nanaimo

Nanaimo – The delivery of 24 New Flyer buses this winter means that the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will boast a fully Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered fleet. CNG-fuelled buses reduce operating costs for BC Transit and for Nanaimo as the fuel is less expensive and has a smaller carbon footprint compared to traditional transit vehicles.

“Through developing greener operations with the adoption of best in class technology, BC Transit is demonstrating a commitment not only to environmental stewardship, but also to supporting meaningful, family-supporting jobs for British Columbians in the renewable energy sector,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This is a significant achievement that we can all be proud of.”

The benefits of CNG technology are environmental and economic. According to FortisBC, using CNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, and it also costs 25 to 50 per cent less than traditional diesel fuel. Production of clean burning CNG also supports British Columbians across the province, providing meaningful employment in both rural and urban communities.

“These additional 24 CNG buses will build off the success of the first 25, and will make Nanaimo our first fully CNG fleet,” said BC Transit President and CEO Manuel Achadinha. “We look forward to introducing CNG technology to more communities across the province.”

The first 25 CNG buses arrived in Nanaimo in 2014, and in that time have resulted in a two per cent decrease in operating costs per service hour and 38.5 per cent operating cost recovery in 2015/2016. The buses have also proved very reliable, clocking an average of 53,000 kilometres each in their first year of service.

This successful CNG rollout sets an example for the rest of the province and country of how best in class technology can be used to deliver dependable transportation solutions, that in turn also help create a greener, more sustainable future.

“Decreasing ozone-forming emissions in Nanaimo will not only help to further protect the city’s natural beauty, but provide cleaner air for the residents and visitors alike,” said Michelle Stilwell, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “That is why it is so important that we protect and sustain our environment through the implementation of green, renewable energy innovations. The adoption of a fully CNG-powered fleet is a giant step in the right direction.”
The 24 new CNG-powered buses are being delivered to the RDN throughout January and February. All buses are expected to be in service by the end of the Spring.

"We are proud to be the first community in Canada to operate a full CNG-powered fleet,” said Bill Veenhof, RDN Board Chair. “This important step will reduce our carbon footprint and our operating costs, both of which support our strategic goals of protecting our environment and delivering economically viable services.”

Each of the XN40 Xcelsior New Flyer buses can carry up to 81 passengers. The purchase of the 24 new vehicles represents an investment of $15.4 million in the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System. To help offset the initial costs associated with the purchase of the new CNG buses, FortisBC will provide funding of up to $480,000. This funding represents 50 per cent of the cost differential of CNG buses over diesel counterparts.

“BC Transit has shown the success of compressed natural gas as a fleet fuel for commercial vehicles,” said Sarah Smith, FortisBC Director, Natural Gas for Transportation and Regional Liquefied Natural Gas. “By completing its Nanaimo fleet with compressed natural gas, BC Transit is not only ensuring benefits for the community through a cleaner, more cost-effective fuel but also for all FortisBC gas customers who will see rate benefits of a gas distribution system that is more optimized year-round.”

Each of the 24 buses is also equipped with closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, making Nanaimo the first fully CCTV-equipped BC Transit community. Video cameras improve the security of both passengers and drivers, and the expansion of this technology builds on previous successes in the RDN, Kelowna, Kamloops and Victoria. Nanaimo is the first BC Transit community to have the entire fleet CCTV camera equipped.

For more RDN transit information, please call 250-390-4531 in Nanaimo, or 250-954-1100 in Parksville and Qualicum. You can also visit us online at bctransit.com/nanaimo.


Media Contact

Jonathon Dyck, BC Transit, Communications Manager

Daniel Pearce, Regional District of Nanaimo, A/General Manager, Transit and Emergency Services