Better fuel option reduces operating costs, attracts customers
Gas prices had increased public transit fares in Tomsk, Russia to the point residents were no longer using this normally affordable and fuel-efficient transportation option. This, in turn, caused bus owners to further raise fares in an effort to recoup lost income. This vicious cycle only served to promote private vehicle use, boost harmful emissions and cause traffic congestion.
To reduce bus operating cost and make the vehicles more environmentally-friendly, the Tomsk State University Enactus team proposed converting the buses to operate on cleaner, compressed natural gas. By doing so, fuel costs could be cut in half and harmful emissions into the atmosphere reduced by two-thirds. To get support, the team arranged a meeting with bus owners to explain the economic benefits of compressed natural gas. They worked with a local bank to develop a favorable loan scheme for buying and installing the necessary equipment and provided recommendations on using green fuels to city officials. This was supplemented with an advertising campaign aimed at educating the community about this option.
Under the “Green Transportation” project, 89 buses have been converted and an agreement has been signed to convert another 122 buses. In three short months this conversion has resulted in a 560t m3 reduction in harmful atmospheric emissions. In addition, it has reduced fuel costs from $340 to $146 a month per bus, which has leveled bus fares and revitalized business for public transit operators.