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Rabbit Transit bus using natural gas

Rabbit Transit’s first bus using compressed natural gas (CNG) hit the pavement earlier this month.

The new bus will be taking riders on the 83 North rabbitExpress route between York and Harrisburg. Over the course of the next 10 years, the rest of the system’s fleet of 89 buses serving York and Adams counties will be replaced with CNG buses, said Rabbit Transit Executive Director Richard Farr.

More than 74 percent of the fleet is past its useful life, according to a news release from Rabbit Transit.

The new bus would probably have sat unused in the depot if not for a partnership between Rabbit Transit and Republic Services, a national company that provides trash and recycling services in the area, Farr said.

CNG vehicles require special fueling stations, Farr said. A facility for the new Rabbit Transit fleet is in the process of being renovated, but it won’t be finished until July.

In the meantime, Republic Services, which has a fleet of 65 CNG trucks, will allow Rabbit Transit to fuel its bus at its station.

Partnership: “They just charge for the cost of fuel, which is pretty kind,” Farr said.

The CNG trucks at Republic Services are fueled slowly overnight, said Tim O’Donnell, general manager at the company’s York office.

“When we pull our 65 trucks into their parking spaces overnight, they each connect to their own fueling ports,” he said.

When the Rabbit Transit bus needs to be fueled, the company hooks it up to a port and temporarily shuts off the flow of gas to the other vehicles at the station, Farr said.

The switch: Right now, Rabbit Transit’s fleet is about two-thirds diesel and one-third gasoline, Farr said.

“We’ve ordered eight more (CNG) buses, and they should be here in December 2016,” he said.

Rabbit Transit uses about 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 120,000 gallons of gasoline to power its fleet each year, Farr said.

CNG will cost about half as much as the petroleum fuels that are currently in use, he said, and when the fleet fully switches fuels, buses will emit about 20 percent less carbon and 30 percent less greenhouse gases.

Related: Retail gasoline prices in Texas, US slip penny this week.

— Reach Julia Scheib at jscheib@yorkdispatch.com.

This article was written by Julia Scheib from The York Dispatch, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.