Luzerne County Transportation Authority gets $1.7 million towards new buses

KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- The LCTA is looking to make some serious upgrades to its bus fleet.

Today, the transit authority was awarded a grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program.

Now, it has $1.7 million more to go towards replacing four of its 38 buses.

“We had to fill out some extensive grant paperwork, show that the part of the reason we were trying to get some new buses is because our fleet is fairly old. The four buses these will be replacing are already close to 15 years old which is three years beyond the useful life according to the manufacturer.”

Executive Director Norm Gavlick says many of the transit authority's buses are getting up there in age.

These four new buses join three more previously bought with other federal grants.

One of those will also replace an older bus, while the other two will be additions to the fleet.

All of those new buses will run on compressed natural gas.

“Environmental, efficiency, cost savings, and PennDOT’s project is doing that with all bus authorities across the state. We’re all converting to CNG,” Gavlick said.

Some regular commuters on LCTA buses say they think its money well spent.

“Some of these buses, it’s a back breaker. When they hit these streets where they got all these potholes and all that, you can feel it. And all these new buses make it a lot better for everybody, better transportation, and they probably won’t break down as easy or whatever,” Mario Velazquez, of Wilkes-Barre, said.

“There’s a lot of people that are disabled, like myself, that have a really, really hard time getting around because there aren’t enough buses so I’m very pleased to hear that they’re getting the money, getting the funds,” Julie Morales, of Luzerne County, said.

The LCTA is expecting to get two of those new buses this year. The other five are expected to arrive sometime in 2019.

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