Boston Public Schools has kicked off an ambitious new program to eventually convert its entire fleet of 750 vehicles to electric. The first Blue Bird Vision electric school buses are now in service, transporting thousands of students daily in what local government officials are calling the largest electric bus deployment in the Northeast.
Blue Bird Corporation ($BLBD) is a recognizable name in school buses that dates back as far as 1927. Today, the company designs, engineers, and manufacture school buses that safely transport millions of children twice a day.
In recent years, Blue Bird has taken its protection of our world’s youth to another level, focusing on eliminating the toxic emissions its traditional buses emit. The company says it currently has over 20,000 propane, natural gas, and electric powered school buses in operation today.
Boston Public Schools (BPS) describes itself as “the birthplace of public education in the US,” and currently serves nearly 50,000 students across 122 schools. The district alone is responsible for transporting nearly 22,000 students across 43,000 miles every school day.
To protect those children’s health and the air quality of Boston, the school district has laid out plans to convert its entire 750 bus fleet to electric. That process is now underway with an initial pilot program of 20 Blue Bird Vision electric school buses.
Electric school buses now transport 2,500 Boston students
Led by Boston mayor Michelle Wu, this 20 vehicle pilot program with BPS involves Blue Bird Corporation in conjunction with Anderson Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England – a local, family-owned dealership since 1961.
Before delivering the 20 electric school buses, Anderson Blue Bird has been providing and maintaining the vehicle fleet for Boston Public Schools for over ten years. Together, the partners hope to continue replacing the fleet’s diesel buses with all-electric Blue Bird alternatives with the goal of electrifying the entire 750 vehicle fleet by 2030. BPS superintendent Mary Skipper spoke:
We are thrilled by this historic partnership. This pilot program is an important step in our work towards a fully electric fleet by 2030, as part of the Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools. These buses are quieter, cleaner, and are an essential part of reducing BPS’ carbon footprint and creating a healthier city. Putting the needs of our young people first is central to our mission. Clean, reliable buses that get our students to school reliably, while also cutting down on pollutants in the air and reducing carbon emissions is an important step that we must take for the well-being of Boston’s young people and their future.
Each of the new electric school buses can transport as many as 71 students up to 120 miles on a single charge. Blue Bird states the pilot vehicles take approximately four hours to recharge from 0% to 100%, based on BPS’ 30 kW chargers installed at its bus depot in Readville, MA bus.
The initial pilot program now provides daily, zero-emission rides to over 2,500 students to and from 42 local schools in Boston. BPS said it expects to save significant costs on fleet operations by reducing the need for fuel and maintenance.
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