Public motorists east of Los Angeles can now fuel their CNG vehicles at a new Rialto Unified School District school bus facility. They are also experiencing even better air quality, thanks to the district’s new all-electric buses.
Rialto Unified said it is the first school district in Southern California to open a public CNG fueling facility. Mohammad Z. Islam, associate superintendent of business services, added during a June 25 ribbon-cutting ceremony that public CNG sales are expected to result in over $1 million in revenue for the district.
The plan for a new CNG facility began in the fall of 2012, when the district assessed its aging bus fleet, and its slow-fill CNG fueling system, said Derek Harris, Rialto Unified’s senior director of risk management, employee benefits and transportation.
He explained that the district identified a vacant lot it already owned as an ideal location for a fast-fill station. Rialto Unified then used a $500,000 grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) and another $250,000 grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCQAMD) Mobile Source Air Pollution Reductions Review Committee to begin construction in March 2016.
Islam said the final price tag on the facility was $4.5 million.
Harris added that SCQAMD provided another grant to purchase an additional 16 new CNG school buses. The district also recently offset the total cost of 10 new all-electric school buses from GreenPower Motor Company by using California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Program (HVIP).
“What you see here today is a result of teamwork from many different departments in the district, as well as the continued support from our leadership and from our community,” Harris stated during the June 25 event.
Currently, Rialto Unified has 38 CNG buses in its fleet, and Islam said the district is planning to purchase 10 more. Islam added that the facility’s electric bus charging stations, which were also completely paid for with the HVIP funds, are being used as a model nationwide.
Rialto Unified transports 5,000 students one-way, daily.