Visalia's Town Trolleys Driving Cleaner

May 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The brass railings and wooden seats are all new, plus, the ride is free. But what passengers who take Visalia's town trolley may notice now is that their ride drives a lot cleaner.Three of the six trolleys are hybrids, the other three now run on compressed natural gas or CNG.

Monty Cox, Visalia Transit Dir., says "We typically say that when we replace a diesel bus with a CNG bus they run about 5 times cleaner."

These environmentally friendly trolleys are getting rave reviews. Frequent trolley rider Liz Lopez says she's now able breathe easier. "I get asthma so if it's really smoking I have to take my inhaler and I try not to sit where they take off and you see all the black smoke coming out I try to get away from that," she says.

The city's diesel trolleys used to cause black clouds of smoke, those running on CNG are clean to the extreme.

Randy Washburn, Shop Foreman, says "The worst that comes out of these is maybe water. There's no emissions practically no emissions out of it."

Now that the trolleys run cleaner, the city wants to convert all of city transit to use compressed natural gas. They say this will save the city money and help riders breathe a little easier.

By October, 70% of Visalia's buses will run on compressed natural gas. They hope to reach 100% in 5 to 7 years. City officials say it's all part of their long-term plan to increase quality of air-- and the quality of life.

Cox says, "It's also cheaper to operate a natural gas bus because they don't have as many parts that get worn as fast. Natural gas engines last longer."

It also doesn't hurt that compressed natural gas tends to cost about one dollar less per gallon than diesel. With gas prices at an all-time high, that's a savings that could drive many to go natural.


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