Westmoreland County Transit Authority officials expect to have 16 new, natural gas-fueled buses on the road by the end of 2018.
Authority board members last week approved the purchase of 11 smaller buses to replace older, diesel-fueled vehicles now in use.
Authority Executive Director Alan Blahovec said the new buses will accommodate up to 20 passengers and two wheelchairs on trips though Westmoreland County.
The new buses will cost the authority about $165,000 each and will be paid for primarily through state and federal grants, he said.
The 11 smaller buses should be delivered and put on the road by year’s end.
A purchase of five larger commuter vehicles ordered last year should be delivered to the authority in the fall, Blahovec said.
The larger commuter buses also will be powered by natural gas and fueled at the authority’s CNG filling station at its Hempfield maintenance center.
The authority currently has six natural gas buses in its fleet that were put into service last fall to coincide with the opening of the CNG filling station that was installed by PennDOT.
“By the end of the year, all of our rusty buses will be off the road,” Blahovec said.