The new Transit chassis is lighter than the Ford E-350 and E-450 cutaways, which officials say allows for higher payloads and improved fuel economy in a Type A bus.
Several alternative-fuel vehicles debuted during the show in Kansas City, Missouri, including two new CNG school buses and an all-electric bus. Also, safety-related products, such as a stop-arm violation data system and a student and vehicle tracking system, grabbed the spotlight.
Stories on the holidays and driver heroism were among the most popular this year.
According to Blue Bird, the T-Series bus body’s aerodynamic features aid in increasing fuel economy by about 20%.
Along with the new Micro Bird T-Series bus, Blue Bird will debut an electronic stability control system and a new Propane Vision warranty.
The Type A school bus manufacturer’s facility in Drummondville, Quebec, now has ISO 9001:2008 certification from the International Standards Organization.
Officials from school districts and bus companies on the East Coast and in the Midwest report easy starting, quick warm-up and quiet operation of the propane Vision school buses in their fleets during the recent cold snap. Blue Bird says propane autogas’ natural properties keep the fuel in a constant liquid form, free from freezing or gelling, and the liquid form provides better control of the air-to-fuel ratio, resulting in excellent start-up dependability.
Company officials say that five recently hired business development executives bring dozens of years of expertise in the automotive and alternative fuels industries. ROUSH CleanTech manufactures and installs propane autogas fuel system technology for Type A Micro Bird and Type C Blue Bird school buses, among other vehicles.
Dynamic Specialty Vehicles will provide sales, service and parts support for Blue Bird customers in British Columbia and the Yukon. The dealership has been supplying Type A buses to western Canada since 1988.
Many school districts and contractors are employing a variety of vehicles to supplement traditional yellow bus service. These alternative arrangements often cut costs and shorten ride times, but the safety implications of transporting students in taxis, vans and other non-school bus vehicles have become a contentious issue.
The manufacturer submitted the G5 lift bus for a 7-year/200,000-mile STURAA test (Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987) last fall, and testing was completed in February. The unit was tested on maintainability, reliability, safety, performance, structural integrity, fuel economy, noise and emissions.
Mesa Public Schools reports savings of about 25.1 cents per mile for the propane Micro Bird Type A school buses it began running last fall. In April, the district will take delivery of six propane Blue Bird Type Cs.
Project LIVE aims to take its special-needs students beyond the walls of their high school and into the community, but the program faced a challenge: It had no vehicle of its own to transport the students. Director Nicholas Slusser tells SBF about the tireless efforts to acquire a bus and to get it built and delivered ahead of schedule.