Upon the recommendation of then General Manager Kevin Abbey, the CATA Board of Directors made the decision to begin replacing all of CATA’s fleet with buses fueled by clean-burning CNG.
As the first step toward fulfilling this commitment, CATA ordered sixteen CNG-powered buses from Bus Industries of America (now Orion Bus Industries) in Oriskany, New York.
CATA, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania joined in a cooperative effort to build a CNG compressing, storage and dispensing station at CATA’s administrative facility. Altogether CATA’s partners contributed in excess of $1.0 million to the project.
CATA took delivery of its first sixteen Orion buses fueled by CNG. CATA also began working with the nearby UniMart to provide compressed natural gas to the public.
1997, 1998, 2001
CATA purchased additional CNG-fueled low-floor New Flyer buses. These 28 35-foot and 40-foot buses have become the backbone of CATA’s fleet.
A third CNG dispenser, donated to CATA by Columbia Gas, was installed to provide additional fueling capacity.
A canopy was placed over the fueling station at the CATA administrative facility so that CATA’s Maintenance staff could fuel buses out of the rain and snow.
A second CNG dispenser was placed on CATA’s property and acts as a back up to the original.
CATA purchased four 30-foot CNG-fueled low-floor ElDorado buses, which have proven to be a perfect fit for use in residential neighborhoods.
With the receipt of two new CNG-fueled Ford minibuses, CATA’s CNG program reached completion. CATA became the first transit system on the East Coast to have converted its entire fixed-route fleet to alternative fuel.
CATA continued its experimentation with alternative fuels by joining forces with Penn State and its Larson Transportation Institute on a broad research initiative aimed at researching the use of hydrogen in vehicles. As a result of the project, one of CATA‘s CNG buses was temporarily converted to operate on a CNG-Hydrogen blend.
CATA completed a major overhaul of its on-site CNG fueling facility, which centered on replacing two of its three existing CNG compressors. The project was funded through a congresional earmark, obtained for CATA by former Representative John Peterson.
CATA took ownership of ten CNG-powered New Flyer buses previously owned by LYNX of Orlando, FL. A subsequent trade with BARTA of Reading, PA, brought an additional two CNG buses to CATA.
CATA is currently in the process of another bus procurement, this one for eleven new CNG-powered buses, which are expected to arrive on-site by the end of the calendar year.