A New Hampshire city is adding 14 propane school buses to its fleet and has put some of them on the road in time to transport students beginning the new school year with in-person learning.
The City of Manchester purchased the Blue Bird Propane Vision buses with $750,000 of the state’s Volkswagen (VW) funding, and funds from Manchester School District and the Manchester Transit Authority (MTA), Mike Whitten, the MTA’s executive director, told School Bus Fleet.
The MTA announced the addition of the buses on Aug. 13 at a ribbon-cutting in Manchester. Gov. Chris Sununu discussed the benefits of the alternative-fuel buses to the city and the surrounding community and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig was also on hand, Gregg Voss, a spokesperson for Blue Bird and Roush CleanTech, which supplies the drivetrain for the propane buses, told SBF.
The new propane school buses are replacing the oldest 14 buses in the city’s fleet, which were between 14 and 18 years old. MTA is currently using 37 of the buses in its 80-bus fleet, including nine of the new propane buses to transport students who are attending districts that are open for in-person instruction, and the remaining four are expected to be put into service soon.
The additions to the city’s school bus fleet are its first alternative-fuel buses, Whitten said.
The decision to add propane buses was primarily driven by a desire to cut emissions, but Whitten said the city is also looking forward to seeing some savings.
“We’re cautiously optimistic with regard to the operating costs,” he added.
In-person learning for Manchester School District started on Sept. 10 for kindergarten and first grade students as well as students who attend special-needs programs and charter schools four days a week (Wednesdays are virtual learning only).