SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City International Airport is preparing to receive the first of what will be a fleet of 19 new CNG-powered parking lot buses. They are being built by ElDorado National at their Riverside, Calif., plant. Although the Airport has had a parking shuttle fleet for many years, these buses will be the first low floors and the largest buses, at 40 feet in length, they’ve used. After studying the needs of airport passengers versus passengers on typical transit buses, the fleet manager decided on several innovations, including extra-wide doors to accommodate passengers carrying luggage, four-point kneeling to lower the entry height at both doors while keeping the floor level, and increased luggage rack space.

This will actually be Salt Lake International’s third generation of CNG-powered, parking lot buses. Responding to a Salt Lake City initiative in 1992, the airport repowered its fleet of 21 buses and began a move toward a clean air fleet of all airport vehicles. As the numbers of parking lot customers began to overwhelm that original fleet, the airport started a bus upgrade moving to larger 35-foot buses in 1998. These buses were again CNG-powered, and again the growth of parking lot business soon overtook those buses’ capabilities, causing the airport to upgrade once more. Currently the parking lot fleet travels more than 600,000 miles per year and transports over 3 million passengers on a 2.2-mile route.