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July 21, 2010  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

A-Z Bus Sales to deliver CNG buses to California district


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COLTON, Calif. — A-Z Bus Sales Inc. is set to deliver 30 new CNG (compressed natural gas) All American Blue Bird school buses to Fresno Unified School District (USD).

The buses were purchased through A-Z Bus Sales and will replace 1977 model year Crown diesel buses and 1978 model year Gillig diesel buses. Upon delivery of the new buses, Fresno USD will have a total of 42 Blue Bird CNG buses. They will be used to transport approximately 9,500 students over 1.5 million miles annually on established routes and field trips.

“Fresno Unified has been buying Blue Bird buses and working with A-Z Bus Sales since 1999; we are pleased with the great service we get from both companies,” said Ralph Meza, director of transportation for the district.

Meza went on to say that the operation finds the Blue Bird buses from A-Z Bus Sales well-built and durable, and with the purchase of the new CNG buses, he expects the engines and transmissions “to last twice the miles when compared to other buses.”

“In buying CNG buses over diesel, we’ve found significant cost savings in both fuel and maintenance expenses. The oil runs cleaner, with need to change it less frequently, and fuel costs are down because we can run two CNGs for the price of one diesel bus,” he said.

Meza also noted that the environmental benefits of CNG compared to diesel result in a cleaner, healthier environment for the students the operation transports.    

“A-Z Bus Sales is pleased to support Fresno Unified School District’s pupil transportation needs,” said Jim Reynolds, president of the company. “Fresno joins the ranks of several other California school districts that are converting their fleets to alternative-fuel buses because they value the benefits of CNG over diesel, such as reduced air pollution and less particulate matter.”

“We are pleased that Fresno Unified School District counts on Blue Bird to provide them with safe, reliable and affordable alternative-fueled buses,” added Greg Bennett, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp.

Fresno USD is the fourth largest school district in California, serving more than 73,000 students. The district operates 64 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, eight high schools, four alternative schools and three special-education schools.


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CNG is cleaner, agreed. There are, however, two important issues that seldom get press regarding this type of fuel. One is that, unlike diesel, CNG is highly explosive. I know safeguards are in place on these vehicles, but I can't help but think that the kids are safer in a bus with a less flammable fueling source. The other is that the infrastructure for fueling is completely inadequate. I am in San Diego county and have three CNG buses with a Fuelmaker slow fill system that has been out of service for six months without a hope for repair or replacement. There are no governmental agencies or school districts reasonably close to use and at this point we must go ten miles outside the district to fuel them at a retail outlet. I hope that the technology of the fully electric school bus advances by leaps and bounds in the next few years!

Lee Eddy    |    Jul 26, 2010 09:47 AM

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