EDMOND — The city's plan to convert Edmond's public transportation buses to compressed natural gas has been halted.
Shannon Entz, community development manager, said there is limited access to compressed natural gas in Edmond, and the single CNG pump station breaks down at times.
Other problems with the mechanical systems also led to the decision to convert the other buses to run on both liquefied propane gas and unleaded fuel.
“This option offers less expensive conversion costs, comparable fuel cost, less mechanical problems, as well as dual-fueling capabilities which allows us to purchase unleaded fuel, as necessary,” Entz said.
Two buses were purchased already equipped with CNG fuel capabilities. A third bus was converted to run on CNG fuel. Those buses will continue to operate on CNG, Entz said.
Edmond received $250,000 in federal stimulus money to convert the six Citylink buses to CNG. So far, almost $117,200 has been spent on five conversion kits.
City officials received permission Thursday to auction off the conversion kits through Edmond's purchasing department. The money will be credited back to the project.
One kit will be kept for spare parts.
Grant money will then be used to buy a refueling unit and ventilation equipment for the existing CNG vehicles because the buses cannot go all day without refueling, Entz said. The cost should be $7,132.
The refueling unit is needed because the tank had to be downsized to allow room for the conversion kit on the bus.
“The bus that is converted cannot run all day,” Entz said.
This week, the only CNG fuel pump in Edmond city limits, at OnCue Express convenience store at Ninth Street and Broadway, needed repair, and a bus had to be towed.
There also is a CNG fuel pump at Portland Avenue and Memorial Road and on Interstate 35 at Love's convenience store.
A CNG pump station built by the city would cost about $250,000 and require land and ongoing maintenance expenses, Entz said.
City leaders plan to buy with the grant money five propane conversion kits, costing about $70,000. A refueling unit will be purchased if needed, Entz said.