HomeIndustry ReleasesFirst Student Deploys First Electric School Buses in Rhode Island

First Student Deploys First Electric School Buses in Rhode Island

Providence Public Schools Welcome Four New EV Buses.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – First Student, the leading operator of electric school buses in North America, and Providence Public Schools, joined federal, state, and city leaders to announce the deployment of the first electric school buses in the City of Providence. The four buses are also the company’s first EVs in Rhode Island.

The zero-emission electric school buses will serve hundreds of students and families in the Providence School District (PPSD) and replace four diesel buses in the District’s fleet. First Student and Providence Public Schools made the announcement at an event in Providence featuring U.S Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S Representatives Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amon, Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, and Providence Public School District Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez.

“These four new, electric school buses are an investment in the future. By replacing aging, diesel buses, we’re putting a down payment on cleaner air, lower carbon emissions, and reduced noise pollution for kids and the community,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. “I look forward to helping more local school districts and communities throughout the state update their school bus fleets with clean, electric buses.”

“Replacing old diesel school buses in Providence with state-of-the-art electric ones is a clear win for our kids, our environment, and the public health,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Our historic American Rescue Plan helped get Rhode Islanders back on their feet after the pandemic, making smart investments in the Ocean State’s future. There is much more to come on electrifying the nation’s fleet of school buses as part of our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“Rhode Islanders deserve clean air, and these four new electric school buses take an important step toward reducing air pollution, combating climate change, and improving public health for kids and the community,” said U.S. Representative Seth Magaziner.

“Today’s announcement is a great federal investment in Rhode Island’s families, our environment, and our future,” said U.S. Representative Gabe Amo. “I am excited that this funding will enable our students to reliably get to school on electric school buses, while helping us fight climate change, build a greener world for the next generation, and help us improve our air quality. This is another example of the success of the American Rescue Plan that Congress passed to put our economy on a path to recovery by investing in our communities.”

$1.2 million in funding for the buses comes from the American Rescue Plan’s Electric School Bus Rebates program. The program is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is designed to help school districts replace existing diesel school buses with zero-emission buses. A grant from Rhode Island Energy helped fund the bus chargers and charging infrastructure.

“Reducing pollution and greenhouse emissions through more eco-friendly transportation options will help promote a more sustainable Rhode Island,” said RIDE Angélica Commissioner Infante-Green. “We’re pleased to welcome this new school bus fleet which will help students in the capital city go to class as we continue our focus on improving attendance.”

“This is another investment Providence is making in combatting climate change and improving air quality throughout our city,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “By providing our students with clean, emission-free transportation to school we are prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our students and taking a significant step forward in building a greener, more sustainable community. I am thankful to all of our local, state, and federal partners who have helped make this possible.”

“I’m thrilled to see these first electric school buses in Providence. Not only is this a win for the environment – but also the health of our students riding the bus,” said Providence Councilor Sue AnderBois. “We will not only reduce our greenhouse gas emissions but also all sorts of other pollutants and particulate matter that is harmful to breathe. Thank you, First Student, for beginning to electrify in PVD!”

“Electric school buses provide quieter, cleaner, healthier and safer rides for students, ensuring they start their day ready to learn and achieve their full potential,” said First Student Head of Electrification Kevin L. Matthews. “We are proud to help Providence Public Schools deploy the district’s first electric buses, which can provide better learning experiences and healthier futures for children, and we are excited to see this transformative effect here in Providence. We thank the district, city, state and federal champions for making this possible.”

“Providence Public Schools is proud to be a part of the transition to electric school buses and welcome the first four First Student electric school buses in Providence,” said PPSD Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez, “Our priority is always ensuring our students have the healthiest, safest and best environment for learning. We look forward to working First Student and all of our partners to create healthier and more sustainable futures for our students.”

First Student is the largest operator of electric school buses in North America. The company has committed to transitioning 30,000 of its diesel buses to electric by 2035 to improve the health and well-being of even more students and communities. First Student currently operates more than 300 electric buses that cover more than two million miles of service.

About First Student:
As a leading school transportation solutions provider in North America, First Student strives to provide the best start and finish to every school day. With a team of highly trained drivers and the industry’s strongest safety record, First Student delivers reliable, quality services, including full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization, and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services with a fleet of about 40,000 buses. For more information, visit

About Providence Public Schools:
The Providence Public School District (PPSD) is the largest public school district in Rhode Island, serving 22,000 students in 37 schools. With over 3,200 employees, PPS is committed to ensuring a quality and equitable education for every student from all backgrounds. For more information, visit


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