In another step toward Pitt’s Oakland campus becoming carbon neutral by 2037, the University has expanded its existing partnership with Enterprise and will lease a total of 268 electric and hybrid vehicles for its fleet.
The deal with Enterprise Fleet Management will help Pitt reduce costs and upgrade its fleet with alternative energy vehicles. To start, 32 new vehicles — including pickup trucks, cargo vans and passenger vans — will be delivered for use by Pitt's facilities department, faculty and staff. The agreement is projected to save the University $750,000 over the next five years.
Pitt and Enterprise have maintained a long-standing partnership for the past 20 years, which includes vehicles for business rental, truck rental and vanpooling.
"Enterprise has been a reliable partner for many years, and we are excited to expand our relationship by having them manage all aspects of our fleet needs," Kevin Sheehy, assistant vice chancellor of Auxiliary Operations and Finance, said in a news release. "Our partnership with Enterprise Fleet Management will allow the University to reduce overhead costs while also improving our fleet to achieve our sustainability goals."
Under the new agreement, Enterprise Fleet Management also will provide routine vehicle maintenance.
This summer, Pitt also switched to a new provider for campus shuttles. In July, Pittsburgh Transportation Group’s all-new fleet of 20 propane-powered shuttle buses equipped with passenger-counting technology and WiFi took to the streets of Oakland.
The shuttles cover the same routes as in previous years, with the addition of a stop at the Residence Inn on Bigelow Boulevard, where students are now being housed. Route details can be found on the PTS transportation page and real-time tracking is available on the Pitt shuttle tracker.
“This is our next step into a more sustainable option,” Sheehy said. The new shuttles will cut shuttle-related carbon dioxide emissions by 33 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 20 percent, the equivalent of emissions from 44 passenger vehicles.
Electric buses were considered, but Sheehy said in May when the deal was announced, “The battery life is not there for as many hours as we run our shuttles.”
The new vehicles, which have either 36 or 24 seats, have the flexibility to be converted to compressed natural gas in the future. Because of social distancing guidelines, the shuttles will not initially be permitted to operate at full capacity. Sheehy estimated that the 36-seat bus could hold 10 to 16 people and the 24-seat could have 10 to 12.
Hand sanitizers have been installed in all the new buses. Drivers will be wiping down high-touch areas during the day, and the buses will get a thorough cleaning every night. Other safeguards will include scanning drivers for high temperatures when they arrive for work, putting screens around the drivers and leaving the first row empty.
— Susan Jones
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