CleanFUEL USA and Collins Bus Corp. have delivered 134 propane-powered school buses to First Student Inc.

The buses will be used by the school bus contractor to provide student transportation to Seattle Public Schools and Portland (Ore.) Public Schools.

The purchase of the buses was made possible through a grant provided by the Department of Energy and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as part of a national effort to establish networks of propane refueling stations and incentivize the use of propane-powered vehicles.

First Student received a grant of $890,000 toward the purchase of 89 buses placed in service for Portland Public Schools and $450,000 for 45 buses to be used in Seattle.

The Collins propane-powered NEXBUS used by First Student includes such features as high-strength tube steel roof bows and increased driver visibility. Officials said the NEXBUS is Altoona tested and certified, and it meets or exceeds all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards certifications for school transportation, including the highest standards for fuel system integrity.

The bus is built on a dual rear-wheel General Motors (GM) chassis, utilizing the GM 6.0-liter engine. It exhibits an estimated range in excess of 300 miles and is available in capacities up to 32 passengers. The propane fuel system was developed in partnership with CleanFUEL USA and has obtained certification from both the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board.

“We’re pleased to be delivering these propane buses to First Student and applaud their efforts to embrace this environmentally friendly solution,” said Kent Tyler, president of Collins Bus Corp. “Clean Fuel USA helped us become the first Type A manufacturer to offer a propane engine option over three years ago, and we have delivered hundreds of these advanced-technology buses to progressive school districts and contractors.”

Cal Hull, senior vice president for First Student, added that the company is proud of its relationship with Seattle and Portland Public Schools, and that the company appreciates its partnership with Collins and its efforts to secure the grant.

Other news on propane, First Student and Collins:

W.Va. adds propane as option for school buses

• First Student names new location manager   

Collins unveils new Type A bus design 

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