OAK CREEK, Wis. — Riteway Bus Service has taken yellow and green to a new level by using the sun to charge school buses.
The contractor, which won the National School Transportation Association's (NSTA) Go Yellow, Go Green award this summer, has launched a solar-powered station that charges the batteries of its 15 plug-in hybrid school buses.
Riteway held a ground-breaking event for the Oak Creek solar station last year with energy officials and the superintendent of the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District, for which the contractor provides transportation service.
The bus batteries can be recharged between routes under the solar station or at night at adjacent outlets.
A Wisconsin-based company designed and installed the solar station. The project was funded in part by the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program through the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program that required a dollar match from Riteway.
In selecting Riteway for its green award, NSTA also pointed to a number of other efforts that the company has implemented with its environmental sustainability program, including idling-reduction policies, emissions-reducing retrofits and new vehicle buying.
Riteway's initiatives were also detailed in a profile by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources last year. For example, under the company's fuel conservation program, managers report fuel consumption, monitor drivers and use electronic on-board units that provide engine diagnostic data.
Riteway has a recycling program in place at its eight locations. Beyond the usual paper, cardboard and plastics, the company recycles vehicle tires and fluids and burns engine waste oil to heat its shops.
In addition to giving out the annual award, NSTA's Go Yellow, Go Green program secures grants and offers a green certification program for school bus contractor members. For more information on the program, go here or contact NSTA staff at [email protected].