The landmark 100,000th Saf-T-Liner C2 from Thomas Built Bus was delivered to Montgomery County Public Schools in Virginia, which has added the vehicle to its current fleet of 130 buses that collectively travel almost 2 million miles per year.
Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, presented the keys from the 100,000th Saf-T-Liner C2 to Mark Miear, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools. The presentation was made outside Lane Stadium on the campus of Virginia Tech on Tuesday. Attending the presentation were Montgomery County Public Schools administrators, school bus drivers, technicians and school board members, along with representatives from Thomas Built Buses, local dealer Sonny Merryman and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.
“This is a historic day for Thomas Built Buses,” said Edgerly. “Montgomery County Public Schools is a valued Thomas Built customer. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone with them today. When we first developed the groundbreaking Saf-T-Liner C2 14 years ago, we never could have imagined that we would be handing over the keys to our 100,000th unit so soon. We loved creating this bus, and today we are pushing the C2 even further with additional innovations and fueling advancements. The school bus that school districts fell in love with so long ago just keeps getting better and better.”
Launched in 2004, the Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner C2 set a new standard for safety, design and engineering innovation, officials said. Based on extensive driver and customer input, the C2 was designed by Thomas Built Buses and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. from the ground up. The C2 is built in High Point in a production facility that was created specifically to produce this very different bus.
Since 2004, the “C2 has evolved to become one of the safest, smartest, most efficient and easiest to maintain school buses in the industry. BusWise® Technologies on the C2 now offer a full suite of robust safety, efficiency and serviceability features. Those include electronic stability control, collision avoidance and lane departure monitoring, Wi-Fi and 360-degree cameras. Plus, advanced telematics systems provide drivers and school transportation administrators with instant on-demand information, including pre-delivery inspection tools, GPS tracking” and vehicle diagnostics.
“These new smart buses can communicate directly with our technicians and staff,” said Eddie Walters, director of transportation for Montgomery County Public Schools. “If the bus is out on a route and a check engine light or other service issue arises, we are notified in real-time, so we’re prepared to address the concern immediately when the bus returns back to the shop. It really increases our efficiency and reduces the time buses are down for repair.”
Currently, the Saf-T-Liner C2 is available in clean-diesel, propane and compressed natural gas options. The company also has an all-electric concept bus named “Jouley.”
“We are excited to receive delivery of this milestone Thomas school bus. This is a real honor for Montgomery County and especially our transportation team,” said Miear. “Safely transporting our students is a daily priority for our school district and community.”
Montgomery County’s school bus fleet, which transports 9,700 students, is comprised of approximately 130 buses, including 15 new Saf-T-Liner C2 units. The school district purchased the 100,000th C2 through Sonny Merryman, a full-service school bus dealer with four locations across Virginia.
“Handing the keys over for Thomas Built’s 100,000th C2 is just as much of a milestone for Sonny Merryman as it is for Thomas Built Buses,” said Floyd Merryman, president and CEO of Sonny Merryman. “Since we launched our business over 50 years ago, our goal has always been to provide our customers with the very best product and service in the industry. With Thomas Built Buses, it’s easy to provide the best product day in and day out. The production of Thomas Built’s 100,000th C2 speaks to the quality, durability and popularity of Thomas Built’s products. We are proud to be a Thomas Built dealer and to be a part of this momentous day with our friends at Montgomery Public Schools.”