BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Collins Bus Corp. has delivered six compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses to the Blue Springs School District, with 30 more buses scheduled to be delivered over the next four years.
The Type A school buses have capacities of 18 to 28 passengers. They are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% and cut operating costs by at least 10%.
Blue Springs "understand[s] the benefits of alternative fuels to both the environment and their bottom line,” said Joe Leggett, director of sales, western region, for Collins REV. “We felt all along that with the size and needs of the district, our CNG buses were the perfect choice for Blue Springs, and so far, the feedback we are hearing is playing that out.”
Blue Springs has a total of about 150 school buses. About 1,100 of the 1,500 students use district transportation daily.
The Collins Type A CNG school buses are powered by Westport’s dedicated natural gas WiNG Power System. The chassis and drivetrain are built on a Ford platform and carry a full Ford-backed warranty for parts and service. The buses have a range of 250 to 300 miles. Blue Springs School District recently made a $1.2 million investment in CNG fueling infrastructure. Based on current projections, the district expects a return on investment of three to five years on the purchase of the new CNG buses.
“In the short period of time we have used the Collins CNG buses, we have witnessed a reduction in operating costs for fuel and maintenance,” said Steve Brown, transportation director at Blue Springs School District. “We anticipate this will grow to a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year once all the buses are up and running.”
The buses are designed for students with special needs. They include track seating and entrances and doors designed for easy ingress and egress.
“We like the flat floor,” Brown said. "[Having] no step up has been very important for our aides, our students, and our drivers.”
Masters Transportation brokered the deal for the Collins CNG buses.
An in-depth feature article on Blue Springs School District will appear in the January 2017 issue of School Bus Fleet.