LANTA hopes to add even more compressed natural gas buses to fleet

November 16, 2018. With 10 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses on the way, Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA), Pennsylvania, is proposing to buy 10 more to replace the aging diesel buses in its fleet.

   LANTA has been steadily buying new buses the last few years, including a current order of 10 buses that should come in by January and be on the road a few months later. "If we could buy even more, we would," said LANTA Executive Director Owen O'Neil.

   The proposed purchase, discussed at Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority committee meetings, would cost almost $5.3 million.

   Eighty percent of the cost is paid through federal grants, 19 2/3 by PennDOT, and 1/3 via funds from Lehigh and Northampton counties, O'Neil said. The federal money has to be used for capital projects, and the purchases are a part of the region's Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, he added.

   Buses purchased with Federal Transit Administration grants must meet service life requirements before being replaced. For LANTA buses that are 35-feet long or 40-feet long, that's 12 years or 500,000 miles.

   By January, the authority will have 34 compressed gas buses, 27 diesel-hybrid buses, and 22 diesel buses.

   LANTA only has a CNG fueling station at its Allentown garage, so the new buses will be used on routes in and around Allentown. The diesel hybrids are used in the Easton garage.