Lake County, Ohio – Furthering their investment in an eco-friendly fleet to provide sustainable commuting options, Laketran recently purchased six new clean-diesel Motor Coach Industries (MCI) commuter coaches to replace their retiring 2004 models. These clean, green, new commuter coach models will make their debut later this summer on Laketran’s Park-n-Ride service that connects downtown Cleveland and Lake County.
The commuter buses feature the latest clean-diesel technology with near-zero emission to comply with the most recent emission standards and a new engine and transmission to deliver better fuel efficiency qualifying Laketran to receive federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds through Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), as well as the Ohio EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Grant.
NOACA recently published their Air Quality Trends Report showing that the air quality in their five county region has improved in recent years, although there are still areas in which the region falls short of the EPA’s standards. Transportation is the primary driver of the region’s air quality issues.
“Air quality has improved significantly in Northeast Ohio in recent years,” said NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci. “But as U.S. EPA continues to strengthen the air quality standards to protect public and environmental health, portions of our region remain in nonattainment for one or more of them. On-road vehicles continue to generate most of the emissions of these pollutants, and the two pollutants most closely linked to mobile emissions—ozone and fine particulate matter—have declined by a smaller margin than the other pollutants. So that tells us that transportation infrastructure and mode choice are intricately linked to the region’s air quality.”
The new coaches will provide 18 daily departures from nine Park-n-Ride locations connecting Lake County and downtown Cleveland. Laketran Park-n-Ride provides Bus on Shoulder service on I-90/SR-2 westbound and eastbound shoulders when traffic is traveling less than 30 miles per hour allowing buses to continue commuting along the highway shoulders, reducing time idling in traffic that contributes to air pollution.
Laketran CEO, Ben Capelle recently joined NOACA’s Air Quality Subcommittee stated, “Motor coaches are the most fuel-efficient, per-passenger-mile mode of motor transportation, surpassing the car, plane or train, providing a clean-air transportation option. A solution to improve our region’s air quality is simply less single-occupancy vehicles on the road.”
The Laketran coaches are expected to carry 160,000 commuters to and from Cleveland annually eliminating 700 cars off the road every day.
The new 40-foot coaches will seat 47 in enviable comfort. Plush, forward-facing seats will let passengers recline comfortably with plenty of legroom. Fitted with two exterior bike racks, the coaches also are equipped with a wheelchair lift, overhead storage compartments, electronic fare boxes, and on-board security cameras.
These new coaches will also feature a new look, consistent with graphics introduced on the Laketran 2017 propane Dial-a-Ride fleet. Laketran, a mainstay in the Lake County community for over 40 years, updated their branding in 2017, making a conscious effort to modernize their image in the community and promote their commitment to clean air vehicles through their brand.
“Laketran prides itself on providing clean, safe, and reliable transportation to our riders with an unmatched customer experience,” shared Brian Falkowski, Laketran board president. “Continuing to update our fleet with state of the art, eco-friendly vehicles, shows that Laketran is committed, not only to our customers, but to sustaining our region and our environment as well.”
In 2015, Laketran awarded a five year procurement contract to Des Plains, Illinois-based, MCI for a price of $611,921 per coach. The new coach buses are funded 80 percent by federally funded with Laketran providing a 20 percent local match.