An additional 155 emission-reducing, economical school buses run on propane in a Missouri school district.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Aug. 12, 2019) — Students returning to Kansas City Public Schools are riding in brand new propane autogas buses. The majority of the district’s school bus fleet now operates on this emission-reducing, economical fuel.
On the outside, the 155 Blue Bird school buses look the same, but it’s their quiet ride and low emissions that attracted the district.
“Kansas City is a progressive, tech-focused city, and we are always looking to provide outstanding service for our students,” said Chris Walls, director of transportation for KCPS. “In addition to reducing emissions, the propane school buses are much quieter. That means the driver can hear and communicate better with the students on board. Plus, the local neighborhood will no longer have to deal with our former noisy diesel bus warm ups at 4 a.m.”
Recent studies have shown that propane autogas school buses are a proven way to reduce harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in American communities. The KCPS propane buses will reduce NOx emissions by over 55,000 pounds and particulate matter by almost 500 pounds each year compared with the diesel buses they replaced.
The district contracted with Student Transportation of America (STA) to acquire the Type C propane buses. “Domestically produced, clean-burning propane autogas is a perfect fit for Kansas City’s school bus fleet,” said Doug Gallagher, senior vice president of fleet and maintenance for STA, which has invested millions of dollars in more than 2,000 propane buses across the United States, including Missouri. “We convey to school districts that there are economic, safety and environmental benefits to propane-powered school buses.”
The school district pays 50 percent less per gallon for propane compared with diesel, for an expected savings of about $500,000 annually. It also anticipates another $55,000 savings each year in maintenance costs. Walls says that every dollar saved in transportation ends up back in the classroom.
“We congratulate both STA and Kansas City schools for being leaders in the adoption of alternative fuels in Missouri,” said Mark Terry, chief commercial officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “Our Blue Bird Vision Propane school buses are a smart solution for any school system looking to be environmentally and fiscally responsible.”
KCPS joins over 900 school districts running propane school buses. “The fuel system technology on these buses offers reliable performance in cold weather all the way down to negative 40 degrees. Operating propane buses provides peace of mind to the district because the fuel can handle extreme conditions without impacting the driver,” said Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales at ROUSH CleanTech, which manufactures the propane fuel system.
The district recently installed a propane station on school grounds that can fuel four buses at a time. “It was a simple decision for us to choose propane because everyone wins,” added Walls.
Read more on why switching to propane school buses is improving air quality and children’s health here.