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State will force move to zero-emission school buses by 2035

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  • Staff Report 

In an ambitious push towards a greener future, all school buses in New York will be required to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, as mandated by state law.

This transition, though raising safety concerns among parents, especially in light of recent electric vehicle fires, has been met with reassurances from industry leaders. Britton Smith, president of Blue Bird Bussing Company, emphasizes that their electric buses have fail-safes against such thermal events, which he deems out of the ordinary for their vehicles.

The cost of electric buses, nearly $400,000 each, is a significant concern, but Smith points out the lower infrastructure requirements for school buses compared to other electric vehicles. Charging stations at schools would be part of a gradual grid demand increase, as buses charge overnight and require less energy. Moreover, Smith cites studies like one in Colorado to allay worries about the buses’ performance in severe weather, noting electric vehicles have better snow traction due to their heavier weight.

As New York steers towards a cleaner transportation future, Blue Bird has opened a new dealership in Western New York to handle any necessary maintenance, ensuring quick service turnaround. Smith remains optimistic about the shift to electric school buses, suggesting that as production scales up, costs will decrease. With the state’s commitment to a zero-emission fleet, the foundation is being laid for a sustainable, cost-efficient transportation standard for the state’s students.