The Propane Education & Research Council, in the presence of journalist and former teacher Jenna Bush Hager and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, have donated $10,000 to Boston Public Schools in recognition of its effort to improve students’ health and safety by adopting the city’s first propane-powered bus fleet. The donation is part of PERC’s new campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of transitioning away from diesel and other dirty fuels.
“Diesel has long been the standard in school transportation, but for districts that want to reduce harmful emissions, save money and create a safer, healthier ride, propane is an excellent alternative,” says Roy Willis, PERC president and CEO.
The BPS bus fleet travels over nine million miles a year in the city and makes 16,000 stops a day, more than half of which are door-to-door pickups. With its 86 propane buses, BPS is reducing student exposure to diesel exhaust, which the World Health Organization classifies as a carcinogen.
“We’ve replaced nearly all of our wheelchair buses with propane because with the existing (diesel) fleet, the engine has to be on in high idle and we’ve got kids in chairs lined up near the back of the bus to get lifted into the bus,” says Peter Crossan, fleet and compliance manager with BPS. “I really wanted to eliminate that situation for those students.”
Schools across 45 states – a total of more than 7,000 buses – have transitioned to propane. Twenty of the top 25 designated market areas and four of the 10 largest school districts in the country are now using them. The trend prompted PERC to launch an awareness campaign to teach communities about the benefits of propane-powered transportation. The Council has partnered with journalist and former teacher Jenna Bush Hager and the nonprofit Adopt a Classroom to donate more than $30,000 nationwide to teachers at schools adopting propane buses.
Donations began September 30th with an event at Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School. Hager and Mayor Walsh surprised teachers at the school and announced that they would receive a total of $10,000 from PERC to purchase supplies for their classroom. The 86 propane buses in Boston are expected to save the district $600 to $1,000 per day.
“It’s clear when you talk to school administrators and transportation departments that they are saving more than just dollars and cents by going with propane buses,” says Hager. “The switch is improving their school as a whole and giving them the opportunity to invest in more teachers or school programs.”
For more information on propane school buses, including bus safety tips for parents and kids courtesy of the National Association of Pupil Transportation, visit BetterOurBuses.com.