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Propane Road Tour Features Blue Bird Vision Destined for STA Bus Contract in Nebraska

A propane-powered Blue Bird Vision conventional school bus is making its way across the U.S. destined for Omaha, Neb. That’s where transportation contractor Student Transportation of America (STA) and two local school districts await its arrival.

A July 17 ribbon-cutting ceremony with Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle, school district representatives and other state and local dignitaries culimates the Blue Bird Propane Road Tour that features the final vehicle in an order of 434 purchased earlier this year by STA for a contract signed in December with the Metropolitan Omaha Education Consortium Interlocal Transportation Association to serve Omaha Public Schools and Millard Public Schools. Representatives for both STA and Blue Bird said the propane order is the single largest ever from any manufacturer. The first buses began arriving in April.

Meanwhile, Blue Bird’s “Propane Road Tour” left the company’s manufacturing plant in Fort Valley, Ga., on Thursday morning. It stopped Friday in Nashville, Tenn., at the Gaylord Opryland Resort with Middle Tennessee Clean Fuels, and on Saturday at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis with the Missouri Propane Gas Association. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman was originally scheduled to attend the Omaha event but had a scheduling conflict. Additional updates can be found at www.propaneroadtour.com.

Phil Horlock, Blue Bird’s president and CEO, said the road tour provides school districts and communities along the way to learn more about the benefits of propane autogas, and specifically about the Blue Bird Vision’s propane-autogas fuel system designed by ROUSH CleanTech that works in conjunction with a Ford 6.8-liter V10 engine.

“Communities along the tour route, from Georgia to Omaha, have an opportunity to talk with key industry representatives about the economic, safety and environmental benefits of propane-powered school buses,” Horlock said, adding that the tour also showcases STA’s commitment to becoming a frontrunner on cleaning up the environment.

According to Blue Bird and ROUSH, the propane Vision burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel by cutting emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and total hydrocarbons while virtually eliminating any particulate matter. Additionally, propane claims to reduce engine wear and tear and maintenance costs while still offering 367 horsepower and 457 pounds of torque.

Denis J. Gallagher, chairman, CEO and founder of STA and parent company Student Transportation Inc., said propane autogas is “a perfect fit” for school buses because the fuel is domestically produced as well as clean burning. He said the company is excited to showcase the propane-powered Vision as well as Omaha as a “model community” for creating a partnership between private enterprise and public education to create a “world-class transportation system.”

“This large deployment is the catalyst that alternative fuels need to become a viable and reliable fuel source for school transportation,” he added. “We want school districts around the country to see there is a better way to transport children to school with school buses that are better for the environment, and our contracted transportation model, which lowers their cost of operations and allows educators to focus on education.”

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