A new bus has been added to the Cache Valley Transit District fleet, thanks to funding from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

“We understand to keep that bus line going is costly, so it is a mutually beneficial project. We are wanting to reduce their emissions in the Cache Valley. Their (the transit district’s) focus is to keep ridership up, get people riding,” said Chris Wernert, an analyst for the Idaho DEQ.

The new bus replaces a 12-year-old vehicle, one of the oldest the transit district has. Although it may help service a few routes, its main purpose is to improve the morning and evening Logan/Preston route.

Since 2006, Preston Regional Transport has contracted with the Cache Valley Transit District, or CVTD, to take care of the Idaho portion of the route.

The route began as an attempt to help improve the valley’s air quality and reduce vehicle use, a goal which Todd Beutler, the general manager of the transit district, said it has made progress toward.

“We have a large group of people that are regular riders that they have a car, but they don’t use their car because of it,” Beutler said.

Although funds from Idaho have supported the Preston/Logan route over the years, this is the first time the Idaho DEQ has covered the cost of an entire bus. According to Wernert, the funds for the bus were provided through an Environmental Protection Agency grant for cleaning up the air in Cache Valley.

Wernert said in order to achieve cleaner air in the entirety of Cache Valley, it’s important that both states work together.

“It’s a joint effort,” Wernert said. “Air quality doesn’t care about the man-made boundaries.”

Wernert hopes that the new bus may spark some interest and encourage people to try out the Logan/Preston route and hopefully consider using it in their commute.

“With the newer buses, sometimes in simple things like the seat design, there is new technology there that comes out that makes it more comfortable, and those things matter to people,” Beutler said.

For more information about the Logan/Preston route, or any other CVTD bus routes, visit cvtdbus.org.