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Trolley-inspired buses among $4.5 million fleet update for Mountain Line

WESTOVER — Mountain Line is bringing the trolley back to downtown Morgantown. 

At least in spirit. 

The transit authority got a peek Wednesday at two of eight new vehicles rolling out of Mountain Line’s Pifer Terminal in the coming days. 

Among those will be two dedicated downtown buses outfitted to look like vintage cable cars — right down to their cupola tops and brass bells. 

The larger of the trolley-inspired vehicles — a 26-foot Gillig low floor — was on display Wednesday, as was a 36-foot Gillig low floor equipped with a Euro-style front cap, luggage racks and other amenities that will soon take over Mountain Line’s Grey Line, which runs north to Pittsburgh and south to Clarksburg every day. 

Mountain Line CEO Dave Bruffy said those two vehicles represent the best of the eight new buses ordered two years ago at a total cost just over $4.5 million, 80% of which was covered by Federal Transit Administration funding. 

The buses are expensive, and they take a long time to get, but they’re meant to stay in service. 

Bruffy explained the new Grey Line unit is a 12-year or 500,000-mile bus. He said the buses being rotated out are 2009 models. 

And while Mountain Line is putting the finishing touches on eight new buses, it’s about to order three more. 

The transit authority approved a $520,560 expenditure Wednesday to purchase three non-CDL buses powered by liquid propane gas. 

According to Bruffy, it’ll likely take six to eight months to get those vehicles delivered. 

He said the propane buses would run all the same routes as the transit authority’s current fleet of smaller 12+2 buses.  

“They have the same range as gasoline engines. They are already below the nitrous oxide standards, and even the ones projected into the future, so it’s a very low emission solution,” Bruffy said. “In the future, if this works out, that will mean we can begin to apply for federal funding for clean technology vehicles.” 

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