Rochester Public Schools (RPS), in partnership with First Student Transportation and Blue Bird, will be First Student Transportation’s inaugural client nation-wide to pilot an electric school bus this fall. The electric Blue Bird school bus will be utilized on both a morning and evening District bus route through the month of September.
First Student Transportation and RPS have had a contractual partnership for several years. Collaboratively, the two organizations have made an effort in the past four-years to shift a 100% diesel fleet to what is now greater than 50% propane fleet. School buses fueled by propane emit fewer lower nitrogen oxide (NOx). It takes 10 Blue Bird Vision Propane buses to emit as much NOx as one clean-diesel bus.
As the District and First Student Transportation look toward the future, they will consider electricschool buses as part of the fleet. “Electric school buses produce zero emissions and almost zero road noise,” said Jon Goetz, Rochester First Student Transportation Contract Manager. “Other benefits we see with electric buses are significantly lower maintenance costs. Electric buses do not require oil changes, nor fuel, air-filter, and transmission services.”
The District operates 134 bus routes twice a day in a 218 square mile area. Electric buses will run 120 miles on a single charge. Most of the District bus routes are between 40 – 48 miles. “First Student continues to enhance their fleet with alternative sustainable solutions,” said Superintendent Michael Muñoz. “We focus on helping our students learn to be ethical contributors and good citizens both in and out of the classroom. Improving our efficiencies in transportation is modeling this characteristic for our students.”
First Student Transportation, Blue Bird, and RPS offered a tour and brief ride on the electric bus on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.