The fans who flock to the Super Bowl on Sunday might not be thinking about air quality, but the city of Phoenix is.
Phoenix Public Transit and Valley Metro will ramp up the frequency of public buses on routes to the site of the game — University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, northwest of Phoenix — and downtown Phoenix, where many of the festivities for SB49 (we refused to use Roman numerals) will be held.
If you’re actually there, check here and here for more information about getting around. Even if you hate both the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots and wish there was a way both of them could lose.
We won’t go into the many benefits of public transportation. Suffice to say that if you want to avoid headaches and exorbitant parking fees, take the bus or light rail.
We’re here to talk about compressed natural gas, which burns cleaner than traditional gasoline or diesel. Many municipal bus fleets around the country have switched to CNG, both because of the environmental benefits and because it’s dirt cheap.
Phoenix has the fourth-worst air quality of any U.S. city, based on particulate matter, so the city had incentive to run more of its buses on natural gas. Last year the city spent $61 million to buy 120 CNG buses as part of a campaign by the transit department called “Green and clean for 2014.”
The buses replaced ones that had been running on a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diesel fuel. Currently, of the 478 city buses, 120 run on CNG, 198 on LNG and 160 on diesel. Another 80 buses are scheduled to be purchased to replace those LNG ones, says Matthew Heil, a spokesman for the city of Phoenix.
“Because of where we live, people understand the necessity for alternative fuels, and the efforts to diminish the kind of pollution that we see,” Heil said.
Plus, the new buses are nice. “They’re pristine,” Heil said. “The Same kind of nice feeling you get when you have a new car.”