Westmoreland Transit to roll out two new natural gas powered buses

December 7, 2018. Two of the (Pennsylvania) Westmoreland County Transit Authority’s five natural gas powered vehicles will be put into service on local routes, officials said.

   “Our smaller vehicles we are currently using for our local routes have definitely passed their useful life. We’re eager to take some of those out of service and get the new buses on the road,” authority Operations Manager Meghan Yuhouse said.

   Five 33-seats, handicapped-accessible vehicles were delivered to the authority in September. It took more than two months to get final registration documents from Harrisburg and to ensure drivers knew how to properly operate the new vehicles, Yuhouse said.

   Further delays resulted as authority officials worked to ensure that the new, larger buses could operate on specific routes, specifically that they were able to negotiate turns and clear overpasses.

   The authority’s Route 6 through Irwin and Route 8 in New Stanton will operate with the first new buses. They are also earmarked for Route 5 in Jeannette, Route 9 in Latrobe and Route 14 in New Kensington. Those are expected to be put into service before year’s end, Yuhouse said.

   The authority also ordered 11 new, smaller natural-gas fueled vehicles that will be also be targeted for its local service. Those are scheduled for delivery early next year. Six new commuter buses for the authority’s routes into Pittsburgh went into service this year.

   The new buses are part of a $3.5 million overhaul of the authority’s fleet of 40 vehicles assigned to its fixed-route service.

   The authority is converting its diesel fleet to natural gas power that will be serviced at its Hempfield maintenance facility, which was upgraded last year to include a natural gas filling depot.