“Grand Rapids announced Monday, July 24, a plan to roll out what will become Michigan’s largest fleet of environmentally-friendly buses.
The new buses run on compressed natural gas rather than diesel fuel. There will be 33 new buses this year, including 28 for The Rapid and five for the Downtown Area Shuttle.
The plan calls for The Rapid’s current 150-vehicle fleet to include 92 of the new buses by 2021, which would make it the largest such fleet in Michigan.
“This investment demonstrates an important collaboration of innovative partners within our community, using the most sustainable and clean products on the market for transportation solutions,” Grand Rapids Mayor Roslynn Bliss said.
Over a five-year period, the transition to natural gas-powered buses is expected to reduce the system’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1 million metric tons. City officials also say the switch ensures The Rapid has access to an “abundant” American-made fuel source for its vehicles.
The project is expected to save the city an estimated $4.5 million and reduce the use of diesel fuel by 60 percent, according to a press release from the city.
“We applaud The Rapid and the city for their accomplishments,” Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga said. “This is fantastic news indeed.”
A press conference announcing the plan Monday was interrupted by protesters from a union that represents The Rapid employees.”