SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A local school district is taking its first steps towards the future of transportation.
Bethlehem Central School District unveiled the first of many zero emissions electric buses on Tuesday at the New York State Association for Pupil Transportation summer conference and trade show in Saratoga Springs.
The district plans to add five electric buses to their fleet for the 2022-2023 school year.
“As early as September 6th, the first day of school in the new year, students in Bethlehem will experience bus rides that are free from engine noise and have less air pollution,” Superintendent Jody Monroe said.
The district first took steps to purchase electric buses with a school budget vote in 2021.
“Being environmentally focused, it wasn’t any surprise that this was the request,” Judith Kehoe, Chief Business and Financial Officer, said.
Each bus costs around $300,000. The district received $1 million in funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the state to reduce costs. It’s all part of a new provision in the New York State budget requiring school districts to begin purchasing electric buses by 2027, with the goal of all buses being electric by 2035.
“We know this is an investment in our future and that scaling up clean transportation has the potential to slash emissions to fight climate change in our communities while helping to meet New York State’s climate and clean energy goals,” Adam Lomasney, NYSERDA Program Manager for Clean Transportation, said.
As more electric buses are added to the fleet, the district is building charging stations and training crews for any updated maintenance. School officials estimate the buses will travel 90 miles between charges and up to 138 miles in perfect conditions.
“More importantly, all electric school buses create cleaner air and a healthier environment for our kids and our communities,” Lomasney said.