Getting to school is a greener experience now for the students in the Cartwright Elementary School District in Arizona. In June, the district, in suburban Phoenix, received an 84-passenger Blue Bird electric school bus. The new electric bus is designed to eliminate nitrogen oxide emissions, a major contributor to poor air quality. The transition to electric transportation for students is a big step as school districts across the Grand Canyon State work to improve the sustainable health of the community. The bus also saves the district a great deal of money in the long term, with lower maintenance and operating costs.
“Having an electric bus shows our children that we care about them. Not just today in how we educate and prepare them for a successful future, but also that we care about their health and the environment that they need to thrive in,” said Cartwright Elementary School District Superintendent LeeAnn Aguilar-Lawlor.
Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego was on hand to celebrate the bus’s arrival.
“[There’s] no better reason to ride a school bus than to ride an electric school bus, and one of the firsts in the state,” she tweeted. “We’re working on creative, collaborative action like this to ensure we achieve the vision of a healthier and more sustainable city.”
The bus may look like any other yellow school bus, but the distinctive Blue Bird is colored green on this All American RE Electric model. There’s also a Level 2 charging station at the school so the bus is ready to go each morning. The district hopes to transition all of its 50 school buses to the more eco-friendly electric model as funds allow.
The Cartwright district was able to purchase the new bus through a Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, just one of many ways the new federal administration is working toward a healthier, cleaner future for cities, counties, and states across America. Electric buses like the one students now ride to Cartwright Elementary are becoming a more and more common sight across the country as schools upgrade their fleets. These buses eliminate emissions, but they also have a huge financial impact on the school districts. Each bus saves thousands of dollars each year – there are no fuel costs, no engine oil changes, no transmission service, and virtually zero expenses for maintenance.
“It’s an amazing experience and opportunity for our families, our young student scholars and for the future of…the city of Phoenix because if we can do it here…it can spread not just through our city [and] our state but also the nation and the world,” Aguilar-Lawlor added. “We can have electric buses on our streets to improve our air quality so we can really see blue in the sky all the time, and that’s exciting.”