MUSD Transportation Goes Green
A CLEANER AND SAFER BUS FLEET FOR OUR CHILDREN
By Sandon Schwartz, Deputy Superintendent and Travis Ann Griffin, Director of Pupil Transportation Services
IN MAY 2018, The California Energy Commission School Bus Replacement Program announced the availability of up to $78.7 million in grant funds to replace some of the oldest diesel polluting school buses in California. This grant awarded qualifying districts with funds for an alternative fuel source school bus. With the approval of the MUSD Board of Trustees in September of 2018, district staff moved forward with applying for the grant. At the time of the application MUSD had 15 school buses that qualified for the grant. The district submitted all 15 of the buses in the competitive grant application. The oldest of these buses was a 1980 Diesel School Bus.
As part of the California Energy Commission grant were funds to install infrastructure for the installation of charging stations for the electric buses.
In 2019, Madera Unified School District was notified that it would be awarded $1,950,545.00 to purchase 5 new 78-passenger electric buses and to install 5 electric bus charging stations in our Transportation Yard.
In September 2021, we took delivery of our very first electric bus. A Bluebird T3RE model, which looks very similar to our existing Bluebird diesel buses. We received the last of the five electric buses in October of 2021. All of the buses are equipped with seat belts and air conditioning for the safety and comfort of our students. The buses have a 120-mile range between charges and will be used for our daily home to school routes.
The district, with the help of PG&E and Tim Trull Electric, completed the installation of five double pedestal electric charging stations in the Transportation yard in January of 2021.
The buses are now in circulation and used daily as some students have returned back to campus for in-person instruction. You may pass one of them on your morning or afternoon commute. The bright green bumpers on the fully electric buses will definitely catch your eye.
The district is actively looking for the right opportunities to continue to grow its electric bus fleet in the near future. As technology improves, allowing for faster charging cycles and longer distance ranges between charges, the need for clean burning diesel and compressed natural gas buses will eventually cease to exist.