New fleet of Westmoreland Transit buses to hit roads in October
Westmoreland County Transit Authority will roll out five new buses next month, replacing rusty and unreliable vehicles that have slowed drive times along the system’s fixed-route commuter service, officials said.
The 33-seat natural gas vehicles have been delivered and are expected to be in service once licensing is completed and drivers are trained to operate the new buses, said authority Executive Director Alan Blahovec.
“The old buses exceeded their useful life and needed to be replaced,” Blahovec said.
The authority paid more than $3.5 million to buy 16 natural gas vehicles, including five larger commuter buses that are expected to operate on the system’s Pittsburgh routes. The vehicles will allow easy access for handicapped and wheel-chair bound riders. Magnetic, fold-down bus racks were installed at the front of each of the new commuter buses.
Officials said older vehicles in the fleet have been used for an excess of 500,000 miles and as a result frequent mechanical failures have slowed service on several key routes over the last few months.
The new vehicles will complement a fleet of more than 40 buses that is expected to continue to be modernized in the coming months. Blahovec said 11 smaller buses ordered this year are expected to be delivered in early 2019.
The authority is in the process of converting its fleet of diesel buses to natural gas-fueled vehicles. The state installed a natural gas fueling station last year at the authority’s maintenance facility in Hempfield.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]