September 23, 2020. For the most part, the Shenango Valley Shuttle Service’s newest bus looks like the rest, with a gray-and-white paint scheme with the service’s name along the side.
However, the newest bus is slightly taller than others in the service’s fleet, due to the two large tanks on the roof. That is why sometime in the future, Director of Operations Michael Nashtock with the Mercer County Regional Council of Governments wants to have some kind of painting or decals to let people know this new bus is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
“Other shuttle services in the Commonwealth have buses that say on the side that they’re a ‘CNG bus,’” Nashtock said.
The Shenango Valley Shuttle Service, which is operated by COG, received its CNG bus before last Thanksgiving. However, the council hadn’t completed construction on its accompanying CNG fueling station until about a month ago, Nashtock said.
The station is located at front of the shuttle service’s garage, 5200 Virginia Road, Hermitage.
The new CNG fueling station includes outdoor pumps with compressors and other equipment in a fenced-off enclosure, while the fueling station is located under a canopy with a high-pressure pump and a low-pressure pump. While the low-pressure pump can refuel a bus in four to five hours, the high-pressure pump can complete the same process in nine minutes, Nashtock said.
The CNG bus and station were provided through a combination of state funds, as part of an overall effort by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to convert public transit vehicles fueled by gas or diesel fuel to compressed natural gas, which is more environmentally friendly, Nashtock said.