MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin-based contractors Lamers Bus Lines and Badger Bus are increasing the number of alternative-fueled vehicles in their bus fleets while decreasing the fleets’ carbon footprint.
Lamers Bus Lines recently added 41 new Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses, expanding its propane fleet to 59 units. Transporting students from Milwaukee Public Schools, these buses feature Blue Bird Corp.’s extended range 100-gallon fuel tank and will travel approximately 8,900 miles per year. The contractor has been providing bus transportation since 1944 and serves over 25 school districts and 60,000 students across the state.
One reason for the new propane autogas school bus deployment is fuel savings, according to Blue Bird. In the past year, Lamers Bus Lines has saved over $14,000 in fuel costs by switching to Blue Bird Propane Vision buses, and the number of new propane buses is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, officials said. The company is currently installing an onsite 30,000-gallon fueling dispenser that will service the new Milwaukee propane autogas buses.
“Our propane buses have been completely trouble-free,” said Allen Lamers, president of Lamers Bus Lines. “We’ve had no issues whatsoever on them and the deployment has been smooth. We received comprehensive training from our local dealer, Wisconsin Bus Sales, along with ROUSH CleanTech and our local propane provider. From all aspects, the buses are logical, simple and require minimal adaptation. Propane autogas is a great option for school buses and we couldn’t be more pleased with our fleet.”
With over 1,300 school buses, Lamers Bus Lines is looking to add more Blue Bird propane autogas buses to its expansive fleet. “We are very happy with our Propane Vision school buses. We recently had a grueling winter. Throughout the record-breaking temperatures, the buses performed outstandingly and we had no mechanical issues. From our drivers, to our techs, to the community, everyone loves these buses,” said Paul Mennen, regional area manager for Lamers Bus Lines.
Another Wisconsin contractor, Badger Bus, has been operating propane autogas school buses for the past two years. The contractor is set to receive 16 new Blue Bird Propane Vision buses, expanding its total propane fleet to 20. The new buses will transport students in Madison Metropolitan School District.
With a 2,000 gallon propane autogas tank onsite, refueling is convenient and affordable, according to Blue Bird. Badger Bus is currently paying $1.19 per gallon for propane autogas, a significant savings over its diesel price of $3.48 per gallon. The buses travel between 12,000 to 14,000 miles each year, allowing fuel savings to accumulate quickly with an average annual fuel savings of over $3,500 for each bus they operate. Given the cleaner operation, environmental benefits and savings experienced, Badger Bus has future plans to add more propane autogas buses to its fleet.
“Badger Bus has been known for its reliable transportation since our founding in 1920. Our experience with Blue Bird’s propane autogas buses has been a very positive, economical experience. Our drivers love the power and quiet operation, our technicians love the ease of service and simplistic engine, and the domestic, affordable fuel provides us with even greater benefits,” said John Meier, co-owner of Badger Bus. “Overall safety is of paramount importance with the students we transport and the safety and environmental benefits of these buses further strengthen our partnership with the community.”
The Blue Bird Propane Vision and Micro Bird, equipped with the ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system and a Ford 6.8-liter engine, meet all Environmental Protection Agency certifications. The buses feature 60% less carbon monoxide, 12% less carbon dioxide, 20% less nitrogen oxide and up to 25% less greenhouse gases than gasoline.
“Blue Bird is delighted that Lamers Bus Lines and Badger Bus are realizing terrific cost savings and environmental benefits from our industry-leading, propane-powered school buses,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “Together with ROUSH CleanTech and our local dealer, Wisconsin Bus Sales, Blue Bird will continue to provide comprehensive training and service support to contractors and school districts throughout Wisconsin.”
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