Georgia sees first propane public transit buses in state

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A group of people stand in front of an electric tour bus for a red ribbon cutting ceremony.

CANTON, Ga., Oct. 18, 2022 – Cherokee County will put the first propane-powered public transit buses in the state of Georgia in service following a ribbon cutting held at the Cherokee County Administrative Offices.

Cherokee Area Transportation Service (CATS) purchased three propane-powered buses from Coach and Equipment Bus Sales, Inc. in February to replace aging buses in the fleet. The cost for all three totaled $307,553 with $261,420 paid for with a Federal Transportation Authority grant and $46,132 from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). Two have been received, and the county is awaiting delivery of the third bus.

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The new vehicles will replace three aging buses currently in the fleet that provide service for the Fixed Route Service by CATS. The Fixed Route Service offers those in need of transportation assistance a regularly scheduled route for a small fee. CATS also provides a Demand Response Service where residents can schedule their rides for things like doctor’s appointments.

“We are excited to bring in three new vehicles that use a cleaner fuel source and have expected lower maintenance costs,” Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds said. “With the purchase, we were able to secure increased federal transportation support and a Federal Transit Authority fuel subsidy, saving our taxpayers money.”

In partnership with the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, the county unveiled two of the three new buses prior to the Board of Commissioners’ work session, inviting representatives from ROUSH CleanTech and the Propane Education and Research Council.

Executive Vice President of Sales for ROUSH CleanTech, Todd Mouw

ROUSH CleanTech’s Gen 5 propane system was integrated with the Ford 7.3 liter engine. It’s more compact, cleaner and more efficient.

“ROUSH CleanTech’s advanced propane autogas technology is helping states like Georgia tackle their air quality problems and budget challenges by operating economical, emissions-reducing buses,” Todd Mouw, executive vice president of sales for ROUSH CleanTech, said.

Steve Whaley, director of autogas business development for the Propane Education & Research Council, talked about the economic and environmental benefits of propane autogas.

Director of Autogas Business Development for the Propane Education & Research Council, Steve Whaley

Propane autogas vehicles have the lowest total cost of ownership due to reduced fuel costs and lower maintenance costs, and their power is comparable to gasoline-fueled vehicles. According to a 2020 survey of fleet end users, respondents identified reduced emissions as one of the primary advantages of propane autogas vehicles with 87% reporting equal or better performance compared to diesel and gasoline. Additionally, 90% of orders for propane autogas vehicles in 2020 were for transit vehicles, delivery vehicles and school buses. 

“We’re proud to add Cherokee County to the growing list of paratransit fleets across this country that are operating with propane autogas,” Whaley said. “Cherokee County is prioritizing providing a safe, clean ride for their community while lowering their operating costs. It’s a win for environmental sustainability and a win for their financial sustainability.”

There are advertising opportunities on the three new vehicles with various size and duration options available. The county has partnered with Tri-State Communications to handle sales and design. For more information, contact Bill West at bill@wljaradio.com.

ABOUT CHEROKEE COUNTY

Located 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Cherokee County is part of the 11-county metro Atlanta area. Cherokee County boasts a population of more than 279,000, according to the 2022 Atlanta Regional Commission population estimates. It is one of the fastest-growing counties in the metro region and its overall Board of Commissioners-controlled tax burden per capita is one of the lowest in the region.  Cherokee County has world-class parks and recreational facilities is a destination for corporate headquarters and is a great place to live, work and play. Cherokee County is the best of both worlds because it’s where “Metro Meets the Mountains.” Learn more at cherokeega.com.

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