HomeGreen BusNorth Kansas City Schools Wins Award for CNG School Buses

North Kansas City Schools Wins Award for CNG School Buses

One of the nation’s largest conversions of school buses to CNG resulted in a Transportation & Mobility Award for North Kansas City School Disrict at the recent Advanced Clean Technology EXPO in Long Beach, California.

With 124 of 169 school buses fuel by compressed natural gas, Lon Waterman, the district’s director of transportation, said CNG is not only eco-friendly has also provided economic benefits. He added that NKC will end the school year with nearly $700,000 in savings. The transportation operation at this report pays $0.56 per gallon, which renders 8 mpg in stark contrast to 5.6 mpg for diesel fuel.

It was the issue of an aging bus fleet that still required expensive upkeep that Waterman said compelled him to consider other viable options.

“The idea is that we had a very, very old fleet and the amount of money we would put into those buses was not sustainable. We were putting good money to bad,” said Waterman. “Having everything under bumper-to-bumper warranty for the first three years, having the fuel efficiency, more gallons per mile, and the $0.56 per gallon that we’re doing right now has allowed a real significant constant, not only the fuel, but also the maintenance costs associated with it.”

With the ACT EXPO T&M Award now under his belt, Waterman said the district aims to continue its efforts toward a full CNG conversion with help of local and state cooperatives.  

Waterman underscored the cost-effectiveness of CNG school buses as having indispensable value to Kansas City. Waterman added that the $700,000 in savings this year can be recycled into educational funding for Kansas city schools.

“As budgets are taken more and more into scrutiny, and as we look at what we do with our public dollars…I think its wise to look at any way we can achieve cost savings for the district,” he explained.

“I’ve been in education for now almost 24 years and never would have thought in my tenure year that I would be a part of a big project,” he added. “Like all projects, they have their challenges. But when you have good planning and a very clear vision, it makes those challenges less. It’s enjoyable to stand here and see the fruits of the labor.”


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