Next week, April 20 to be exact, marks the official return of Earth Day. And what better way to reduce traffic congestion and harmful emissions than riding the bus?
That’s what FirstGroup America said today in a statement. The largest provider of ground transportation services in North America, school buses included with a fleet of more than 60,000 of the yellow vehicles, suggests that commuters of all ages should leave their personal vehicles (or those of their parents) in the garage and take the bus.
FirstGroup also owns Greyhound, and the First Transit business operates more than 10,000 public transit buses nationwide in addition to the nation’s largest school bus fleet operated by First Student. The company said the vast majority of its transit and school buses operate on Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel with the remaining 750 vehicles running on CNG. Combined, this fleet can save the average American or Canadian the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
The American School Bus Council says a single school bus can eliminate approximately 36 cars. With more than 480,000 school buses on the road each day, that’s nearly 17.3 million fewer vehicles on the streets, saving an estimated total of 2.3 billion gallons of fuel each year as well as reducing congestion, emissions and road wear and tear. And reduced idling can save up to a half gallon of fuel per hour.
Meanwhile, research by the American Public Transportation Association shows that by using public transit, the typical automobile driver can reduce individual daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds or more than 4,800 pounds per year. APTA released a report today that riding public transportation saves individuals, on average, $10,116 annually and $843 per month. The report is based on on the April 13, 2011 average national gas price of $3.81 per gallon that was reported by AAA and the national unreserved monthly parking rate. APTA added these represent the largest savings in nearly three years.
“Today’s buses are more environmentally friendly than ever before, thanks to cleaner-burning engines, specialized particulate filters and alternative fuels,” says Gary Catapano, senior vice president for Safety at FirstGroup America. “At First Student, we strictly enforce our anti-idling policy, which states that no bus will idle in excess of three minutes while not in transit unless certain exceptions exist.”
FirstGroup America also is implementing a waste recycling program across all managed facilities in North America. The company estimates it will recycle enough used oil to eliminate 5,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) per year. FirstGroup also says its operations are recycling seven percent of all waste including cardboard and glass, which represents more than 20,000 cubic yards per year of waste material saved from going into landfills.
Additionally, FirstGroup says it recycles more than 250,000 pounds of used oil filters annually.