ATLANTA — Fulton County Schools has rolled out 90 new Blue Bird propane autogas-fueled school buses equipped with three-point seat belts.
The school district, which is the fourth-largest in Georgia, said it chose the buses for their safety, environmental, and economic benefits.
“Our new Blue Bird propane buses with three-point seat belts meet our goal to provide the safest and most efficient transportation service for our community,” said Sam Ham, executive director of transportation for Fulton County Schools. “We are the first district in Georgia with three-point seat belts on a regular-route Type C bus."
Ham added that the district expects to save $3,500 in fuel and maintenance costs per propane bus, per year.
“That’s $315,000 that can be allocated elsewhere, like back in the classrooms,” he said.
The new fleet also includes the 10,000th propane school bus manufactured by Blue Bird.
“This propane bus purchase is a milestone for Fulton County Schools as well as for Blue Bird, as we celebrate our 10,000th Blue Bird Vision Propane bus in operation,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corp. “These propane school buses run on clean fuel, reduce emissions transmitted into the air, and keep our students even safer with our newest feature, the NextGen Blue Bird Seat.”
The buses are equipped with Ford’s 6.8L V10 engine and powered by Roush CleanTech’s propane fuel system.
“Fulton County Schools’ adoption of propane buses demonstrates its commitment to students, community, and taxpayers through cleaner air and reduced spending,” said Brian Carney, executive director of school bus and customer success for Roush CleanTech. “Because of their low NOx status, propane buses like these will be eligible for funding from the Volkswagen settlement’s Environmental Mitigation Trust, which will fund clean technology that reduces NOx emissions.”
At its transportation facilities in Alpharetta and Fairburn, Fulton County Schools installed two new propane stations to fuel the buses. AmeriGas, the school district’s propane supplier, installed two turnkey fueling stations at no up-front cost. Infrastructure costs were rolled into the district’s price per gallon for propane. The stations’ fueling capabilities will handle the district’s plans to convert its entire fleet of school buses to propane.
The 72-passenger propane buses will begin operation in the 2017-18 school year.