Arizona school district adds autogas-powered buses to fleet
By Sylvia Arroyo
Feb. 10, 2012 -- After experiencing fuel savings with its Blue Bird Propane-Powered Micro Bird school buses, Mesa (Ariz.) Public Schools will be adding six propane Type C Vision buses to its fleet. In April, the school district will also add six Blue Bird Propane-Powered Vision buses to its fleet. The Vision buses are scheduled to be delivered in April. Last November, Mesa Public Schools purchased 27 propane-powered Blue Bird school buses. As a result, the district was the first in Arizona to make this type of purchase.
Ron Latko, transportation director for Mesa Public Schools, said the Micro Birds have provided the district with substantial fuel savings — approximately 25 cents per mile with each bus — while providing students with an environmentally friendly ride. Additionally, the fuel economy of these buses has been nearly identical to its diesel counterpart.
"Annually, each bus travels 15,500 route miles and transports more than 18,000 students each day. As diesel and gasoline prices rise, my propane autogas costs have decreased. Currently, Mesa Public Schools is paying $1.31 per gallon of propane," Latko said.
He noted that people at all levels throughout Mesa Public Schools, from transportation personnel and maintenance technicians, to bus drivers, are partial to the Micro Birds. Bus drivers particularly like the buses' quiet operation.
"We looked at all options when considering alternative fuel. Surprisingly, hybrid was nearly twice the cost of our propane units — not a reasonable solution for our fleet. Propane was the obvious solution."
Now that Mesa is expecting the six Vision buses, the school district will have onsite an 18,000-gallon propane tank, and has plans for a second refueling tank at the district's auxiliary bus yard.Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird, said for the past five years districts across North America have been seeing the benefits offered by Blue Bird's propane-powered school buses.
"It's great to hear that Mesa Public School is enjoying these benefits too," he added.
SOURCE School Transportation News