Boston mayor Michelle Wu last week announced that Boston Public Schools will deploy 20 electric buses during the 2022-23 school year in a pilot program. Ultimately, Boston will electrify its entire school bus fleet by 2030.
Boston’s current fleet is made up of 739 school buses, and around half are diesel. They are responsible for 11% of the city’s municipal emissions. The City of Boston website explains:
As the department with the largest building portfolio and the second largest vehicle inventory after Boston Police Department, Boston Public Schools represents the largest source of municipal emissions.
Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston’s Environment Department are working to reduce vehicle emissions by electrifying Boston’s school bus fleet, converting diesel school buses to electric vehicles.
The pilot program will give the city a chance to find its feet by test-driving charging infrastructure and electric school bus maintenance.
Further, in a partnership between the Public Works Department and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School called “train the trainer,” 10 mechanics from various city departments will be trained to service and repair electric school buses, then they will be deployed to teach their newly acquired skills to students at Boston-area vocational technical colleges.
“This will be the trainer model, because then we will be training our young people to be able to step into these jobs right away,” Wu told reporters at Roxbury’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, where she said electric vehicle training will be integrated into the core curriculum starting this fall.
Later in April, Boston Public Schools will launch a request for information to seek input from stakeholders on electrification strategies, existing initiatives in other cities, and exploring potential solutions to local challenges to electrification.
The American Lung Association and other health organizations have been actively lobbying Congress to fund electric school buses because of the negative impact diesel fuel has on children’s health.
Photo: Blue Bird
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