HomeGreen BusOregon School District, First Student Win Fleet Awards at ACT EXPO

Oregon School District, First Student Win Fleet Awards at ACT EXPO

LAS VEGAS — Beaverton School District in Oregon and Contractor First Student were recognized on the ACT EXPO stage for their commitment to cleaner emissions.

Leading Public Fleet winner Beaverton School District near Portland operates the largest public fleet in Oregon as well as one of the cleanest bus fleets in the nation. Last year, it fully transitioned away from fossil fuels and operates its fleet of 310 school buses on renewable propane, renewable diesel and battery-electric.

Craig Beaver, the director of transportation, accepted the award Monday on the district’s behalf. He told School Transportation News that by this fall, Beaverton will be running 30 electric school buses. That number jumps to 80 by June 2025. Additionally, the district operates 65 renewable propane school buses, which will expand to 120 propane vehicles within the next year.

“We’re very proud and pleased to be recognized for the use of alternative fuels: renewable diesel, renewable propane and electric,” Beaver said. “As a school bus fleet with over 300 buses, we think we’re making a considerable contribution to the environment and removing particulates for students, giving them as clean of a possible ride as we can.”

Erik Neandross, president of GNA, a TRC Company presents the Leading Private Fleet award to contractor First Student, accepted by Kevin Matthews, head of electrification on May 20, 2024. (Photo courtesy of ACT Expo 2024.)

Meanwhile, contractor First Student was awarded the Leading Private Fleet category. The contractor was recognized for leading the way in electric school bus transportation, as it plans to transition 30,000 diesel vehicles to electric by 2035.

First Student’s current EV fleet of 350 across North America already achieved a major milestone of logging 3 million electric miles and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 4,935 tons.

The company also received recognition for the creation of an innovative charging infrastructure solution, FlexCharge, which offers above-ground, mobile charging units that eliminate the need for trenching.

Alex Cook, the chief engineer at First Student, was the inaugural winner of the Innovator of the Year Award from School Transportation News in 2022 for developing the FlexCharge technology. Listen to a recent webinar where Cook and EV Principal Consultants Kevin King and Steve Mentzer do a deep dive into the innovative features and benefits of FlexCharge.

“Today’s award validates all the hard work First Student has put into electrifying our school bus fleet and sets a new standard of excellence for our team to meet and exceed in the future,” said Kevin Matthews, head of electrification at First Student, in a statement. “Every diesel school bus we transition to electric provides tangible health and environmental benefits to the students and communities we serve. We are grateful to Advance Clean Transportation and the judging panel for recognizing a student transportation fleet as a leader and shining a light on the tremendous work we’re doing modernizing America’s school buses. I also want to acknowledge the First Student electrification team that has worked tireless on our electrification programs. Not only are we the leading student transportation company, but we are one of the leading electrification companies in the whole transportation industry.”

Related: (STN Podcast E211) Future-Facing: State of School Bus Sustainability, Electric Buses Travel Michigan’s Dirt Roads
Related: Study Shows Increasing Complexity of Adding Electric, Alternative Fuels
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