In conjunction with Earth Week, pupil transportation industry officials launched a drive to reduce carbon emissions by getting more students to ride the school bus.
“Earth Week should be a time for introspection and focus on lifestyle changes that can make a difference environmentally,” NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin said. “While using mass transit typically is high on most lists to help save the planet, taking a yellow school bus often is easier than other forms of transit since it’s available in every community and convenient.”
To spread the message, NAPT and the American School Bus Council (ASBC) issued three public service announcements (PSAs) to be aired by radio stations. The spots target high school students who drive themselves to school.
“If you’re concerned about the environment and you’re in high school, listen up,” one of the PSAs urges. “Want to make a real difference? Leave your car at home and take the school bus. You'll save gas, reduce pollution and traffic congestion, and save money, too.”
Martin noted that in many communities, school buses are underutilized while roads are clogged with teenagers driving to and from school. He said that California, which is renowned for its environmental laws, has the lowest school bus ridership in the nation.
“Many California parents probably aren’t aware that by not insisting that their children use school buses, they’re missing one of the easiest ways to be environmentally responsible,” Martin said. He noted that the school bus is also the safest way for students to get to and from school.
The PSAs are available for free download and use at www.napt.org.
In a separate announcement sent to media outlets, the ASBC further made its case for yellow buses as the green way to get to school.
The council pointed out that model year 2007 school buses are 60 times cleaner than those built before 1990. Additionally, school bus operators have retrofitted more than 12,000 school buses with emissions-reduction technology since 2003 through the EPA's Clean School Bus USA grant program, the ASBC said.