A greener focus
Although Blue Bird introduced propane-powered vehicles in 2006, they have become more popular in recent years. CSBS told SBF
that the company is now making a bigger push for customers to use them.
“We’ve done a lot of propane marketing lately and have tried to focus on the green technologies available through Blue Bird,” Reitz says. Blue Bird’s CNG-powered vehicles are also available through CSBS.
It’s a big change for customers, which is why CSBS’ training program was revamped. But the company also started hosting open houses called “Ride and Drives,” where customers can actually test drive alternative-fueled vehicles to get a feel for propane performance.
“Propane is cheaper than diesel to procure and meets not just the current, but the future U.S. emissions obligations as well. With propane, customers pay 50% less for fuel per gallon,” Reitz says.
“Propane vehicles are becoming more popular, and not just in the Midwest,” he adds. “People are more aware of the cost benefit; the cost of propane fueling stations and the product’s performance have been two driving factors for us.”
Green efforts have also been extended into other areas of CSBS’ business. At training sessions, lectures are presented electronically, and after sessions, customers are sent home with thumb drives to cut back on printing.
Now in its 37th year of business, CSBS is involved in over 25 school bus associations, and is active with lobbying as well.
“We feel strongly we need to be involved at the state level to help support these organizations in any cause,” Reitz says. “That’s because we’re committed to the industry and to education.”