Alexandria school buses might be going green

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 6:21 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOWN OF ALEXANDRIA, New York (WWNY) - Alexandria Central School might be making history by going green. The district recently got a grant that will help it swap out some of its gas-powered buses.

Superintendent Chris Clapper says now is the best time to start making the switch given the state’s environmental policy.

“There’s a timeline that will dictate when you can operate and no longer operate a diesel or gas bus. So it’s coming,” he said.

Helping the school district through the transition is a $375,000 grant from The Environmental Protection Agency. It’s part of its “Clean School Bus” program.

Clapper says the state will cover 75% of each electric bus purchase.

“Each bus that we buy is about half the cost of buying a diesel or a gas bus,” he said.

New York also aims to foot the bill for retrofitting the garage to handle electric vehicles.

“As we acquire additional busses, New York state will pay for the charging system, the electric work, everything that we need to upgrade our infrastructure to support those busses,” said Clapper.

Transportation Supervisor Delmar Lambert says electric vehicles come with more advantages than just gas costs

“On the electric busses, there’s no oil changes. There’s no filter changes to speak of. So it cuts down on pretty much 80% of your maintenance costs,” he said.

The new buses are going to look pretty much identical to the old ones. They’ll still seat 65 students. But up front, there’ll just be one little difference.

“The only difference is a green bluebird symbol above the door rather than the blue one,” said Clapper.

And for the folks concerned electric buses won’t work well in the cold due to their batteries:

“Worst case scenario, we discharge about a quarter of a battery in one of our routes. The chance of an electric bus failing out on the road is equal to a diesel bus or a gas bus failing out on the road,” said Clapper.

Purchasing the buses will be up for a vote in May. If it passes, two might see service as early as September.