COTA upgrading downtown terminals with CNG switch

Source: Columbus Business First

The Central Ohio Transit Authority has conceptual plans for renovating its downtown terminals as it moves toward building up its fleet of compressed natural gas-fueled buses.

COTA will bring its plans to the city’s Downtown Commission on Tuesday.

COTA spokesman Marty Stutz told me the enclosed south terminal within the Columbus Commons parking garage will need a better HVAC and other safety items to accommodate the CNG buses.

“In order to operate CNG buses inside,” Stutz told me, “we need to retrofit it.”

The transit systems received its first 30 CNG buses this year. The remaining 280 diesel buses in the fleet will get replaced in lots of 30 to 36 each year as they near the end of their 12-year lifespan.

Both terminals also need upgraded because the CNG buses are taller and won’t clear the entrance and exit to the garage and the north terminal canopy.

“While we’re in there making those changes,” Stutz told me, “we’re going to upgrade the buildings overall.”

He added some of those changes will bring the terminals up to federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The south terminal, which opened in November 1989, will cost $1.9 million to renovate. Other changes there include interior lighting, finishes and upgraded rider entrances on East Main and East Rich streets.

The $1 million in planned changes at the 33 W. Spring St. terminal, which opened in the mid-1980s, will include a new enclosed waiting area for riders and a new canopy.

The proposed changes were designed by Cleveland-based Richard L. Bowen and Associates Inc.