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Boston Public Schools Put First 20 Blue Bird Electric Buses Into Operation

Boston Public Schools (BPS) recently received their first batch of 20 Blue Bird electric school buses through the dealership Anderson Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England. The ground-breaking pilot initiative is the largest deployment of electric school buses in the Northeast, according to school administrators and local government authorities. The switch to electric school buses was backed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, and will help BPS in lowering harmful greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing student and community health.

These 20 Blue Bird Vision electric school buses can go up to 120 miles with 71 pupils on a single charge. Based on Level III ICE 30 kW fast chargers built at BPS’s Readville, Massachusetts bus station, the buses need 4 hours to charge fully.

Over 2,500 kids are now securely and consistently being transported by Blue Bird’s zero-emission buses to and from 42 schools in the area each day.

“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,” said Mary Skipper, Superintendent 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.”

“Our students enjoy riding on our new electric buses. They love the quiet drive. We all love that our students, drivers and school staff are not being exposed to any exhaust fumes generated by traditional, diesel-powered buses. In addition, our bus drivers have had positive feedback about vehicle performance,” said Jackie Hayes, Assistant Director of Contract Operations and Fleet for Boston Public Schools. “Our pilot program marks an important step toward the electrification of our entire school bus fleet by 2030 to significantly reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Blue Bird is recognized as a technology leader and innovator of zero-emission school buses in North America,” said Britton Smith, Senior Vice President of Electrification and Chief Strategy Officer for Blue Bird Corporation, which has more than 950 electric-powered school buses in operation today. “We are excited to add 20 electric vehicles to Boston Public Schools’ bus fleet and to further help the school district to put student and community health first.”

With a fleet of roughly 750 buses, about a third of which are diesel-powered, Boston Public Schools has relied on Anderson Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England for more than 10 years to help with student transportation needs. That’s why the school district purchased the electric buses from Anderson for its pilot program.

“Being on the ground floor with Boston Public Schools, the City of Boston and Transdev, BPS’s maintenance and operations contractor, to initiate this pilot project and see it through to this recent deployment is something special for all our team members that made this a success,” said Jim Anderson, Vice President of Anderson Blue Bird Bus Sales of New England. “BPS’s transition from a diesel to a propane and now an electric powered fleet demonstrates the commitment the Boston Public Schools and The City of Boston has undertaken to provide a cleaner, more sustainable environment within the city boundaries: Boston EV Strong.”

By lowering or eliminating the fuel and maintenance costs associated with conventional diesel-powered buses, Boston Public Schools expects to reap financial rewards. Some Blue Bird customers have reported diesel bus fuel expenses of up to 49 cents per mile, whereas the average cost of electricity for electric buses was 14 cents per mile. That’s a big difference in fuel costs, offering big savings!

More and more schools are realizing the benefits of using zero-emission electric school buses and the health benefits they provide for students and school district personnel. Let’s hope that BPS can meet its 2030 goal of transforming its entire fleet into 750 clean electric buses.

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