Omaha bets on LPG school buses, too
Omaha Public Schools (OPS), in cooperation with operator/subcontractor Student Transportation Inc. (STI), decided not to waste time on tests and evaluations of single vehicles, but buy large quantities of buses right from the start. And so in the summer of 2013 as many as 435 autogas-powered Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses were bought for service in OPS-governed schools. A year later it is perfectly clear that the decision was right – the vehicles have already saved over 200 thousand dollars. And that's compared to diesel, not petrol counterparts.
If the figure fails to impress you, let's put it in context: 200 thousand dollars is a sum of money allowing to hire four to five classroom teachers for a year. This definitely makes the transition to LPG worthwhile, since lower fuel spendings allow OPS to hire more teachers for understaffed schools in the district. This in turn means that the level of education is higher, for with more teachers there are fewer substitutions and merged classes.
The Omaha school district aims at being the first one in the country to use autogas-powered school buses only. Quite frankly, they're not far from making this goal come true, for the Nebraska's largest city's school bus fleet already comprises 96% LPG-powered vehicles. OPS and STI have vowed to work toward 100% saturation as soon as possible not only to further boost the economical benefit, but also due to the LPG buses' better performance under harsh Nebraska winters. Regardless of the motivation behind, we're looking forward to hearing news of more autogas school buses entering service across the US.
In the cold weather, propane buses are extremely easier to deal with than diesels. I didn’t have any problems all year long with the 435 propane autogas buses. They would fire up no matter how cold it was.
Brian Urwin, shop manager for STI
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