School bus contractors that operate service in New York City are in the process of identifying how they will meet a mandate to provide electric rides to and from school in the fall.
Last month, Mayor Bill De Blasio signed a resolution that all city fleet vehicles will be electric-powered by 2040. He said during his State of the City address that school buses are included.
In reality, the city does not own and operate any school buses, leaving those to some 65 contractor companies that operate across the five boroughs. However, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) is purchasing four electric school buses to conduct a pilot test.
Isabelle Boundy, the assistant press secretary for the New York City Department of Education, could not confirm project details for School Transportation News. But she added that the district is “excited” to have the electric school buses on city streets next school year.
“We’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint whenever possible,” she said.
Corey Muirhead, executive vice president of Logan Bus Service & Affiliates, explained that the city plan is to put 25 electric school buses on the streets over the next three years. If the pilot program proceeds smoothly, the DOE and large “legacy” contractors — companies that won an extension of their routes in 2018 wh9 — can agree to increase the number of electric school buses to 50.
Last month, Logan Bus announced it secured grant money from the New York State Energy and Research Authority (NYSERDA) to fund the project. AMPLY Power is providing the charge-as-a-service package for Logan’s bus depot in Brooklyn. As for what other contractors are doing, Muirhead said they can pay out of pocket or try to secure grant money from NYSERDA or the state’s share of the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund.
“They have to be able to navigate the grant funding type that is available,” added Muirhead, who is also the president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.
Logan Bus is expecting to use its grant to purchase five new IC Bus CE electric buses, which the company said will be made available this year, and a Type A Trans Tech eSeries. Muirhead said at least one of the vehicles is expected to be ready to be put into service by the start of school in September, with all six vehicles expected to be in service by next year.
Editor’s note — An original version of this report contained details disputed by the New York City Department of Education. This version has been updated to omit that information.
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