Kiel North America Light-Weight Seats and CNG-Technology Transform Transpo Bus Fleet

Fleet of 16 new CNG-buses equipped with light-weight Kiel seats showcase for flourishing “Made in Indiana” supplier industry.

Elkhart, IN, September 25, 2014 --( Kiel North America, a trendsetting seat provider to transit systems around the world, announced today that the company has partnered with Transpo in South Bend, Indiana, to deliver environmentally friendly, fuel saving seating solutions for the agency’s new fleet of compressed natural gas buses. The 16 new buses will be entering service in early 2015.

The South Bend Public Transportation Association, or Transpo for short, has been placing increased focus on the sustainability and environmental friendliness of their operations in order to serve the South Bend community in the best way possible. In 2010, the 125 year old agency relocated to the Emil “Lucky” Reznik Administration, Maintenance and Operations Facility, the first LEED Platinum transit facility nationwide. When replacing their aging fleet, General Manager David Cangany and the board were determined to make the switch to new buses one that would benefit the ridership and the environment but would also save operating costs.

Under the motto “The New Way To Go” the incoming CNG-powered fleet sports a fresh, blue and green exterior design on the outside which is carried to the inside with Kiel seat covers in corresponding colors. The extremely versatile Kiel Ideo is a modular seating solution that adapts to virtually any configuration requirements. Based on its sleek and ergonomically correct back the Ideo allows for a maximum of leg room and comfort while actually making space for four more seats (32 per bus, compared to other seating choices) which increases the overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the fleet.

With a weight of just over 26 lbs. per double seat, the Ideo is also an industry-leader in optimizing the fuel-efficiency of the buses, which will drop from about $3.10 per gallon of diesel fuel to barely $1.00 per equivalent diesel for the fleet powered with CNG-technology. Transpo said this will save over $300,000 in fuel alone in the first year of operation which is a major asset in reducing overall operating costs and free up other resources to maintain the high level of service the Transpo ridership has come to expect.

Kiel seats are built in Elkhart, just 15 miles east of South Bend, and are designed using innovative, environmentally-friendly materials and manufacturing practices while guaranteeing utmost robustness and durability for many years to come. Like all other Kiel seats, the Ideo can be recycled at the end of its useful life-cycle which was another critical point for Transpo in serving the community in an eco-sensitive, cost-effective way.

Besides the US-made Kiel seats, the new fleet will be built in the United States by New Flyer Industries and utilizes “as many “Made in Indiana” components as possible,” according to Transpo’s General Manager David Cangany. “This is an exciting time for Transpo and the transportation industry in the state of Indiana,” he says. “As we strategically plan for the future and focus on sustainable best practices, this Transpo-fleet definitely sets ground-breaking standards for 'the new way to go.' In Kiel North America we found an ideal partner to deliver reliable solutions that our customers will enjoy for many years to come.”

“The great collaboration with our South Bend neighbor Transpo has opened a new chapter the history of passenger transport for our state,” adds Thomas Schwank, General Manager of Kiel North America. “Transpo’s new fleet is a strong argument for the benefits of public transportation not only for the environment and communities across the nation but also for a strong U.S. economy.”
Kiel North America
Susa Quinn
Head of Corporate Communications