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June 15, 2021

Philly School District goes green, buys electric school buses

The district is the first in the state to purchase all-electric school buses

Education Transportation
School District of Philadelphia electric buses Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia announced Tuesday it purchased five electric school buses for the 2021-22 school year to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, making it the first district in the state to do so.

The School District of Philadelphia bought five electric school buses in time for the 2021-22 school year — making it the first district in the state to do so.

The district announced Tuesday that it will continue to purchase five electric school buses every year to replace its diesel buses.

This move was made possible by the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act and the district's sustainability plan, GreenFutures. Electric school buses will cut down on gasoline, pollution and noise pollution, the district said.

"We’re excited to acquire these buses and continue our GreenFutures work to identify more efficient ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint,said Danielle Floyd, general manager of Transportation Services for the School District of Philadelphia. 

The new buses look like traditional school buses and can seat 48 passengers.

"While we’ve previously purchased clean diesel buses to replace our aging fleet, we are proud to be the first school district in the commonwealth to begin investing in all-electric buses, providing not only climate and health benefits for our community, but allowing students to benefit from having a quiet, more relaxed ride, " Floyd said.

The district purchased the LionC buses from Lion Electric. They all have wheelchair lifts and produce zero emissions.

"Lion Electric is extremely proud to be working with the School District of Philadelphia to put the first all-electric school buses on the road in Pennsylvania, paving the way for the future of sustainable school transportation in the Keystone state,said Nate Baguio, vice president of sales at Lion Electric.

"Deploying electric school buses in the Philadelphia area will not only provide students with a healthier environment and quiet ride to and from school, but will also provide significant savings in maintenance and energy costs, ultimately allowing the district to further invest in its students and put money back into classrooms."

Electric buses are much more affordable to operate, with 60% less maintenance costs and 80% lower energy cost than diesel buses.

The district's sustainability plan, GreenFutures, outlines a plan to replace its fleet of older diesel school buses in favor of new technologies that focus on low emissions, improved fuel economy and safety.

The Biden Administration proposed replacing 20% of the school bus fleet in the United States as a part of the America Jobs Plan. Under the plan, it would replace around 100,000 of the 500,000 school buses with electric buses.

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