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Boston School Buses Go Green

In an effort to reduce its environmental impact, Boston Public Schools (BPS) has committed to operating a portion of its bus fleet with propane autogas. The school district plans to convert more of its diesel buses to propane in the near future.

With the national conversation focusing on the reduction of tailpipe emissions, BPS has purchased 86 Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses, which will place the number of alternative fuel vehicles in the fleet at 11 percent. Expected delivery of the buses is this June.

According to BPS Fleet and Compliance Manager Peter Crossan, the district is the largest user of diesel fuel in Boston. However, a series of green initiatives over the last 15 years led BPS to rethink its student transportation program. Blue Bird propane autogas buses lined up with this change of direction in the district’s mission of selecting vehicles with high efficiency standards and low environmental impact.

“These new Blue Bird Propane Visions mean many students will no longer be exposed to diesel fumes when boarding or disembarking our buses,” said Crossan.

When compared to conventional diesel, propane autogas vehicles produce 80 percent less smog-producing hydrocarbons. “These new Blue Bird Propane Visions mean many students will no longer be exposed to diesel fumes when boarding or disembarking our buses,” said Crossan.

The new buses for the 2015-2016 school year are powered by a Ford V10 engine and come equipped with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system. Utilizing these technologies cuts the annual amount of nitrogen oxide the BPS fleet emits by 66,000 pounds, along with eliminating particulate matter emissions by 2,700 pounds each year.

Blue Bird President CEO of Phil Horlock sees the inclusion of the Blue Bird Propane Visions in the BPS fleet as beneficial to the entire city, especially in reducing costs—the school district expects to save at least $1 per gallon on fuel.

“We designed and engineered a propane autogas fuel system on the short wheelbase buses to meet Boston Public Schools’ operating needs,” said Horlock.     

Editor’s note — School Transportation News will produce a one-day symposium on alternative fuels and clean energy, the Green Bus Summit, on July 29 in Reno, Nevada.

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