Hillsborough County students who live within 2 miles of their middle school or high school may no longer be eligible to ride the bus because of a lack of state funding for courtesy busing.
Since 2015, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, and Hillsborough County school districts have added 170 new Blue Bird Vision Propane buses and have seen lower emissions and savings in fuel and maintenance costs.
The technology is proven, and the buses offer cheaper operating costs as well as zero emissions. Still, with scarce funding in many states and extremely cold winter temperatures, will the vehicles gain traction in the school transportation market?
The superintendent for Westport Public Schools is looking to save $125,000, and says that monitors are no longer necessary due to technology that improves bus safety. Parents and board members argue against the proposal, citing greater demands on school bus drivers and more distracted motorists.
Omaha Public Schools is trying to simplify its busing system and cut costs by reducing the number of schools that students can apply to and still be eligible to ride the bus. The district’s transportation costs are high compared with other urban Midwestern districts.
Olympia CUSD now has more than a third of its buses running on propane, which officials say is lowering operating costs and yielding other benefits.
TransPar Group, which manages more than 1,700 vehicles for various school districts in the U.S., joins the TSC program that offers exclusive services.
The mother of a boy with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is concerned over a change from him riding a special-needs bus to a regular bus. Seminole County (Fla.) Public Schools no longer has the resources to provide special-needs buses, but does have monitors on buses, officials say.
Chesapeake (Va.) Public Schools used to allow bus drivers to keep their buses at their homes, but now requires them to park in district lots to save time and money. Some drivers say they are putting more miles on their buses and feel less safe.
Software programs automate reporting, making it easier, faster and less costly, suppliers say. Districts have been able to save days’ worth of staff time and have more, reliable data with which to recoup much-needed funds.
Broward County (Fla.) Public Schools cut its annual operating costs by acquiring 98 Blue Bird Propane Vision buses. The district recouped the propane engine upcharge in three months.
Two school districts, one located in New York and the other in Mississippi, cite certified technicians and alternative fuel as factors in reducing school bus total cost of ownership.
End users say savings on propane autogas and CNG fuel and maintenance costs, along with having to perform less maintenance, help recoup the extra cost of purchasing the vehicles and installing fueling systems.