A recent case study by ROUSH Clean Tech and Blue Bird showed the Bend-La Pine Schools district in Oregon not only saved money by switching to propane-powered school buses, but also found that these performed well in extreme temperatures. Bus drivers and technicians soon discovered the cold weather of the Pacific Northwest was not an obstacle for operating the propane vehicles.
With snowfall covering 50 percent of the United States, student transportation professionals are extra busy checking roads, warming up buses and coordinating cancelled school days. Farther north, consortium Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) is fine-tuning the process to manage bus cancellations for the winter season — which has arrived early.
The National School Transportation Association is supporting tax extenders in the "lame duck" Congress that cover the alternative fuel and bonus depreciation credits that are set to expire by the end of the year.
Rep. Oscar Longoria introduced a bill designed to increase student safety at school bus stops, but some local school districts are worried it could drastically increase operating costs without a change to the state's transportation funding program.