Student Transportation of America (STA) has announced the launch of its Electric Vehicle (EV) Pilot Program in Los Angeles, California.
In total, five electric school buses have been added to STA’s Los Angeles fleet, replacing a handful of diesel buses as the company works to lessen its impact on the environment, according to a news release from STA. The buses are reportedly manufactured by Blue Bird and feature a Cummins battery-electric system.
“Launching our Electric Vehicle Pilot Program is the first step in our commitment to making a more positive impact on the health of our passengers and our planet,” said Gene Kowalczewski, chief operating officer for STA. “We’ve invested, explored grants, and made the right partnerships to build a strong foundation for a successful EV rollout. We’re looking forward to seeing how well these buses perform in Los Angeles and will begin looking into other select markets in the very near future.”
Southern California’s Beard Electric EV was tapped to help update STA’s existing bus terminals — supported by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) — to support the installation of Level 2 EV charging stations. The installation of the charging stations served as a mentoring project for LADWP’s Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator class, in which cohorts, primarily from underserved communities, watched the construction of the EV infrastructure via Zoom, according to the STA.
In June, STA appointed Ronald Halley, the company’s vice president of fleet and facilities, as the head of the EV Pilot Program — overseeing the design and coordination of maintenance processes and new facilities for STA’s vehicles throughout the country.
“What sets our electric program apart is its strategic rollout in varied neighborhoods, all of which have vastly different characteristics that could affect mileage, idling time, and overall performance,” Halley said. “What we learn in Los Angeles, we can apply toward the future markets and make better informed decisions on where to go next with the electric buses.”
In Los Angeles, the electric buses are already serving several routes, primarily for private schools like Harvard‐Westlake School, which implemented EVs within their Mission School Transportation (MST) fleet, a part of the STA family of companies.
STA has plans to expand its electric bus initiative to additional markets including Trenton, New Jersey; Barre, Vermont; and other areas. The new buses and related infrastructure for the larger rollout come at a total cost of $6.5 million, which will be funded by STA and a variety of grants, incentive projects, and partnerships.
To date, STA has replaced more than 2,000 of its diesel-powered school buses with alternative-fuel vehicles.
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