Aging population demand more efficient service
As Dial-a-Ride ridership continues to grow alongside Lake County’s aging population, Laketran is aggressively trying to find ways to make the service more efficient. One of those strategies is transitioning the 85 bus Dial-a-Ride fleet from diesel fuel to propane.
General Manager Ben Capelle explained, “There’s some expenses we can’t cut. You can’t cut labor cost without cutting service, so we need to get a little more creative. Tightening standards for emissions and shrinking budgets have been driving the transportation industry toward alternative fuels now more than ever before and so propane is one of our solutions.”
“By operating propane-fueled buses we’re reducing our fuel expenses by 35% and saving on maintenance expenses,” explained Capelle.
Propane is a clean burning fuel due to its low carbon content and significantly reduces smog forming hydrocarbons and greenhouse emissions, over gasoline and diesel fuels. Additionally, propane is American-made reducing independence on foreign oil.
In 2017, Laketran also added two new, smaller 8-passenger Dial-a-Ride buses, Turtle Top VT3’s, to the fleet. The accessible bus is equipped with a wheelchair lift, safety cameras, electronic fare box, GPS-enabled automatic vehicle locators, plus radios and rangers.
“We have spent the last six months testing both our traditional Ford E-450 and new VT3 model to prepare for purchase of replacement vehicles,” shared Capelle. “Both our drivers and customers have had positive feedback on how they operate.”
Board approves purchase of propane vehicles
At the Monday, January 22 Laketran Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved the purchase of 11 replacement vehicles, including six additional VT3 model buses.
“We’re replacing 8 year old vehicles with 200,000 – 250,000 miles on them,” explained Capelle. “There’s significant maintenance savings when you can operate newer vehicles so we’re continuously looking for capital funding for replacement vehicles.” See the full article here.