Jun 08, 2012

First Student Adds 86 Propane School Buses to Portland Fleet

CINCINNATI — First Student, Inc., the largest provider of student transportation in North America, is adding 86 Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision school buses to its fleet to transport students in the Portland Public School District in Portland, Oregon. The purchase is the largest single order to date of propane autogas fueled buses for Blue Bird and ROUSH Clean Tech.

“In their first year of operation, these propane autogas school buses are expected to save $500,000 to $700,000 in fuel and maintenance costs over their diesel counterparts,” said Mark Elias, area general manager for First Student. “Blue Bird is known as a highly durable, quality product. Coupled with ROUSH CleanTech's technologically advanced propane autogas fuel system, First Student and the Portland community have a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly product for its students.”

First Student has used buses powered by propane autogas since 1977. The new Next Generation Propane-Powered Vision, equipped with ROUSH Clean Tech's dedicated liquid propane autogas fuel system, reduces carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and total hydrocarbon emissions, and virtually eliminates particulate matter, when compared to conventionally fueled school buses.

“We're delighted that First Student and Portland Public Schools have selected Blue Bird's unique propane-powered school bus to meet the needs of the market,” said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “Not only will our propane buses provide significant savings each year in fuel and maintenance costs, Portland's school children, and the broader community will benefit from cleaner, healthier air.”    

Propane autogas, which costs up to 50 percent less per gallon than diesel fuel, offers reduced maintenance costs due to its clean-burning properties. Ninety percent of the U.S. propane supply is produced domestically, with an additional 7 percent from Canada, making it a domestic and secure source of energy. On-board the school buses, noise levels are decreased by 50 percent when compared to diesel counterparts, giving drivers fewer distractions.

First Student's new Blue Bird school buses also include added safety features for the school district's students and drivers. Automatically activated tire chains deliver traction in adverse weather. Digital camera systems provide mobile surveillance to further passenger safety, track vehicles and analyze routes. The buses are also equipped with an electronic system designed to prevent children from being left on the school bus and a motion sensor to increase security of unattended buses.