Photo courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech.

Photo courtesy of ROUSH CleanTech.

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) has added 61 new propane autogas shuttle buses to its Connector paratransit service, the southeast Michigan-based regional public transportation provider announced.

The addition of these new vehicles, which are built on a Ford E-450 chassis and include ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fueling systems, will make SMART the second-largest propane autogas-powered paratransit fleet in Michigan and one of the top five largest in the U.S., according to the company.

Total fuel and maintenance savings is projected to be $1.1 million to $1.7 million over the lifetime of the propane autogas fleet, SMART reported.

The Connector service helps seniors and people with disabilities get to work, school, and medical appointments throughout the southeast Michigan region. It is an advance reservation, curb-to-curb service where riders may travel anywhere within a 10-mile radius of a designated service area.

Delivery of the propane autogas vehicles to SMART began in February, and to date 14 vehicles have been placed into service. The fleet is expected to enter service by the end of July, according to SMART.