Several school districts hit by harsh winter weather over the last month reported that their school buses fueled by propane worked without any interruptions from the extreme cold.
All Star Transportation in Torrington, Conn., experienced average temperatures of around zero degrees for several days. Its extensive fleet includes 40 Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses. While the fleet's diesel buses experienced cold weather issues, the district said its 40 Propane Vision conventional school buses suffered no ill effects from the cold.
"The temperature here dipped as low as –12 degrees Fahrenheit, adding complexity to our daily operations," said Leslie Sheldon, operations manager for All Star Transportation. "The propane autogas buses made the lives of our technicians and bus drivers easier as the buses started perfectly and came up to temperature promptly. Given these weather challenges, the technicians and drivers wish all of our buses were propane-powered."
Lamers Bus Lines in Eastern Wisconsin experienced temperatures as cold as –27 degrees. The contractor has 14 Propane Vision buses in its fleet.
"Simply put, our Propane Visions are great cold weather buses," said Allen Lamers, owner of Lamers Bus Lines. "We experienced easy starting, heat within minutes, quiet operation and less headaches. Our drivers love the buses and when the driver is happy, everyone is happy."
Reed City (Mich.) Area Public Schools is also no stranger to bitter temperatures. Throughout the arctic blast, temperatures dipped as low as –13 degrees.
"All six of our Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses started right up, without hesitation. School was cancelled for a few days but we were out there anyway, starting the buses and making sure our fleet was fully-prepared," said Paul Lewis, Reed City's director of facilities and transportation. "The quietness of the propane bus is amazing. During these colder temperatures, the drivers love how quickly the buses warm up. We are very happy with our propane buses."
Blue Bird Corporation said propane autogas stands up so well in the cold because the natural properties keep the fuel in a constant liquid form, which negates gelling or freezing. The manufacturer added that propane autogas' liquid form provides better control of the air to fuel ratio, resulting in the superior start-up dependability that districts are widely reporting. Also, there is no need to plug the buses in to preheat them.