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Columbia City Council authorizes purchase of two natural gas buses

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The Columbia City Council authorized the Columbia Public Works Department to purchase two compressed natural gas buses for city public transit.

CNG buses are low- or no-emission vehicles that the Go COMO Transit Alternative Fuel Follow-Up Report call a “bridge” until electric bus technology “has proven itself fully reliable.”

Interim Public Works Director Shane Creech explained to council the hesitation to immediately invest in more electric buses.

“We want to see additional information before we spend money because we had such a bad experience the last time with the same brand buses,” said Creech.

The city previously broke a lease to return nine electric buses due to poor performance and maintenance issues. Council members agreed the city needs more information on the performance of the current fleet of electric buses before purchasing more, opting for the natural gas vehicles for now.

The council may reassess bus performance and replacement plans in 6 months.

Jana Rose Schleis is a M.A. student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She is studying investigative journalism and government reporting.