Three new EV buses will supplement STA's fleet of propane buses in Allegheny County as part of the pilot program.  -  File photo

Three new EV buses will supplement STA's fleet of propane buses in Allegheny County as part of the pilot program.

File photo

A grant from Pennsylvania’s Driving PA Forward-Truck and Bus Fleet Program is helping school transportation provider Student Transportation of America expand its electric vehicle pilot program into Pennsylvania.

The move into northern Pittsburgh marks a new milestone in STA’s effort to introduce battery-powered buses to city, suburban, and rural communities across the United States. The grant allows the company to integrate three new electric school buses into STA’s fleet serving the Pine-Richland School District in Allegheny County.

“This grant will go a long way to help us reach our company goals for greater sustainability,” said Gene Kowalczewski, STA’s chief operating officer. “We are grateful for the support of the State of Pennsylvania and our partners at the Pine-Richland School District who recognize the value that electric vehicles bring to the transportation industry.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded the grant. The electric vehicles will supplement STA’s existing fleet of propane school buses serving routes in Allegheny County. IC Bus is manufacturing the new buses, with delivery expected within six to 12 months. Duquesne Light will help STA update its existing bus terminal service with Level 2 EV charging stations.

“We are extremely excited for Pine-Richland School District to be part of a pilot program for electric vehicle buses,” said Brian Miller, the district’s superintendent. “When we began our relationship with STA almost seven years ago, we chose to operate a propane fleet. Last summer, we extended the contract with STA as a key partner for another seven years with a continued emphasis on our propane fleet. The opportunity to be part of this EV pilot aligns directly with our strategic focus on sustainability. We are so proud and excited to see the environmental impact of this pilot and to use it as an opportunity to learn.”

To date, STA reports that it has replaced more than 2,700 diesel-engine school buses with alternative-fuel vehicles. With additional grants, incentive projects, strategic partnerships and investments, STA plans to keep expanding its electric bus initiative into more markets.

“Student Transportation of America has its sights on becoming an industry leader in the movement toward electric vehicles. Reducing our consumption of fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do for the environment, but the right thing to do for our communities and our valued business partners,” said Ron Halley, STA’s vice president of fleet and facilities. “We are happy to see the district embrace EV technology in the way it has. As in our other markets that became early adopters of EV, we are looking forward to seeing the efficiencies it brings to our fleet’s performance in the Pittsburgh area.”  

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