KEYSER, W.Va. – The Potomac Valley Transit Authority, which provides public transportation in Mineral, Grant, Hardy, Hampshire and Pendleton counties, is planning to convert to hydrogen-powered buses.
Doug Pixler, director of the PVTA, told the Mineral County Commissioners of the authority’s plans when he appeared before them Feb. 14 to make his budget request.
He told the commissioners the transit authority is asking for “pretty much the same as we’ve always asked for” in regard to Mineral County’s annual contribution.
He took the time to explain that PVTA has grown in Mineral County and throughout the district it serves.
“We ran almost a million miles last year,” he said. “We had around 120,000 in ridership and I can tell you this year we’re targeting to have around 150,000.
“We’re very pleased with where we’re at,” he said.
Pixler also told the commissioners that PVTA is applying for a design study of the feasibility of converting to hydrogen-powered buses.
“The cost of fuel has been enormous, and it keeps going up,” he said, adding that another factor for the agency looking to change its fuel is the current difficulty in purchasing gas-powered buses.
“Everything has been moving toward alternative energies … the one thing they wanted us to try was electric side of it, but electric just isn’t going to work for us. Not in our terrain,” he said.
As for as converting to hydrogen, Pixler said he is optimistic.
“We’ll be the test area for the state of West Virginia,” he said. “We are very excited about where we’re going with this.”
At Pixler’s request, the commissioners have written a letter of support for the PVTA converting to hydrogen.
“We’re currently looking at four hydrogen buses. They’re very expensive,” he said.
The Mineral County Commission continues to hear budget requests from department heads and outside agencies, with plans to finalize the budget at their March 14 meeting.