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New buses in Parksville Qualicum Beach said to be more efficient

Parksville Qualicum Beach will soon see shiny new buses take to the road, according to RDN chair Joe Stanhope.

On Saturday, March 1, the RDN welcomed a fleet of 25 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, which Stanhope called "the single biggest change in our regional transit system in the past two decades."

Stanhope said we are the first B.C. Transit community in the province to operate a CNG fleet.

Stanhope said the buses currently sit in Nanaimo and will be brought into service over the spring months, some of which will operate in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Dennis Trudeau, RDN's manager of transit and solid waste, beamed with pride about the additional buses.

"This means quieter buses, brand new buses, that new bus smell, higher fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs and more dependability," said Trudeau. "On our own we're an advertising platform for transit."

Trudeau went on to say this is the biggest change transit has ever experienced here.

"Over the last two years, the cost of diesel has gone up and we've been limited to one type of fuel," said Trudeau, of the old buses which ran on diesel. "CNG buses provide diversity."

Trudeau said that B.C. Transit now has the option to use either CNG or diesel buses, depending on which type of fuel is more cost effective at the time.

"It's exciting," said Trudeau, adding the entire project cost $15 million.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell called CNG "the fuel of the future," adding the new buses will emit 30 per cent less green house gases.

"I'm thrilled to see clean transportation," said Stilwell. "And more importantly (the new buses) are accessible."

A Feb. 28 news release said Fortis BC will provide $937,500 to help offset the initial cost.

According the the release, the City of Kamloops recently announced it would introduce a CNG fleet in the spring of 2015.

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