FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Two school districts have collected data on total ownership costs to make more informed decisions on how to manage their lifetime fleet expenses and found that Blue Bird buses offered the lowest cost of ownership, according to Blue Bird.

“After evaluating our data, we found the right choice for Biloxi Public Schools,” said Sam Bailey, transportation director for Biloxi (Miss.) Public Schools. “Although not always the cheapest purchase price, [through our data] we found that Blue Bird had the lowest cost of ownership, [lowest] out-of-commission time, and the longest in-service life expectancy by 41%.”

Based on the data it collected, Biloxi Public Schools found, regarding the vehicle in-service rate, there is a higher percentage of Blue Bird buses on the road than in the shop for repairs, according to the bus manufacturer.

“Our technicians are ASE certified, which means that Blue Bird recognizes our technicians are qualified and permits our technicians to complete warranty replacements at our department to expedite the buses back to service,” Bailey said. “Blue Bird, as a manufacturer, is responsive to customer needs in regards to warranty issues, which also reduces the time the buses are in the shop.”

Washingtonville (N.Y.) Central School District (CSD) has also reported valuable savings through its Blue Bird propane models. While the upfront cost of the propane buses was higher than diesel buses, the school district was able to recoup that incremental cost within one year.

“Environmental reasons were a large part of our decision to purchase Blue Bird propane autogas buses as much as cost savings,” said Paul Nienstadt, executive director of operations for Washingtonville CSD. “We had a quick return on investment due to the immediate savings from both fuel and routine maintenance expenses, and this factors into our overall cost of ownership.”

Routine maintenance costs have dropped 30% for the district’s alternative fuel buses compared to its diesel buses. Including a federal tax credit, Washingtonville CSD saves $21,000 per year on fuel costs.

“School district fleet managers across the nation are finding, through their comprehensive evaluation, that Blue Bird school buses make economic sense,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. “Progressive districts like Biloxi and Washingtonville are examining the time lost when operating their school buses, which helps the taxpayers and gets the children to school on time.”

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