First of 106 new Compressed Natural Gas buses in Surrey this week

(L-R) Armind Ramakrishna from Fortis, Surrey City Councillor Tom Gill, MP Sukh Dhaliwal and Coast Mountain Bus Company Acting President Dan Savitsky.
Photos: TransLink

TRANSLINK on Tuesday announced that the first of 106 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses have arrived and will begin serving customers on Surrey streets this week, with full roll out of the new clean energy buses by the end of the year.

Once all the new buses are in service, it will mean more than half the 209 buses in the Surrey fleet will be new, providing a better customer experience.

Benefits of the new CNG buses include:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions – 13-21% less than diesel buses
  • Fuel cost savings – 60% less than diesel (saving $2.1 million annually)
  • Longer engine life – additional 200,000 kms (compared to typical diesel fleet)
  • Improved safety – All buses will have an operator safety barrier installed

TransLink currently has 146 CNG buses in its fleet, operating out of the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre and the Hamilton Transit Centre in Richmond.

The addition of these CNG buses also increases TransLink’s eligibility of claiming carbon credits under the provincial low carbon fuel standard program. In 2017, after three years of involvement in the program, TransLink’s credits amounted to $1.5 million. Also, the cost of purchasing the new CNG buses is offset by contributions from FortisBC through its Natural Gas for Transportation vehicle incentive program.

With the addition of these new buses, more than half of TransLink’s conventional bus fleet will run using clean energy, and will include:

  • 262 electric trolley,
  • 252 compressed natural gas, and
  • 252 hybrid diesel buses

The total cost of the CNG bus purchase, along with upgrades to the Surrey Transit Centre that includes a new fueling facility and other works to accommodate the new buses, is approximately $86 million. Of this, about 80% of the total comes from the federal gas tax, allocated by the Metro Vancouver board of directors. The remainder is funded by TransLink.

Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink, said: “These new buses represent a major renewal for our Surrey transit fleet, and the benefits are many. Our customers and bus operators will enjoy a more comfortable ride with air-conditioned, quieter buses. And these new buses will also deliver substantial financial and environmental benefits with significantly reduced costs for fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

Sukh Dhaliwal, MP for Surrey‒Newton, on behalf of Amarjeet Sohi, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said: “The Government of Canada recognizes how important investing in public transit infrastructure is to building strong, sustainable communities and creating economic growth. I am proud that federal funding helped purchase these CNG buses, which will save both fuel and maintenance costs while reducing air pollution and improving safety for B.C. transit users.”

Harry Bains, Labour Minister who is MLA for Surrey Newton, said: “We are so excited here in Surrey for the arrival of these new, highly efficient, compressed natural gas buses. Surrey transit riders have been waiting for years for new buses. Now commuters will have the comfort of air conditioned, quieter buses which will improve the service people count on.”

Tom Gill, Surrey Councillor and Director, Metro Vancouver, said: “These compressed natural gas buses have significantly lower emissions than diesel buses, providing both reductions of greenhouse gases and harmful air contaminants. These vehicles will replace half of Surrey’s aging fleet and complement the future light rail system to reduce road congestion while offering an efficient and environmentally friendly transportation solution.”