PETERSBURG, Va. -- As gas and diesel prices remain above $4 in Virginia, some city buses are working to save the City of Petersburg money.
The savings come at a time when Petersburg buses are free for riders thanks to a federal grant from both the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration.
"It gives people an opportunity to learn our system and to see how efficient our system runs," Petersburg Mass Transit Director Charles Koonce said about the free rides. "It also gives them an opportunity to have a choice, whether they want a vehicle and pay the $4 or $5 a gallon or ride on our bus for free at this present time."
While gas and diesel-fueled buses face higher fuel costs, a second federal grant has transformed four Petersburg buses to run on propane. Another eight propane-fueled buses are in the pipeline.
The conversion to propane has saved the city money as propane currently costs about $2.15 a gallon.
"The more propane we use, we get a rebate, so that lowers the cost of the propane," Koonce said about a bonus that came with the second grant.
Petersburg Area Transit runs about a dozen routes during the week, from 5:15 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The eight buses being converted to propane are expected to hit the streets of Petersburg next week.
In July, bus service will expand down to Emporia and Greensville County.