Propane powers majority of Kansas City school bus fleet

August 15, 2019 By    

Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) in Missouri now powers the majority of its bus fleet with propane after a recent fleet enhancement.

Kansas City Public Schools says the buses will reduce NOx emissions by over 55,000 pounds and particulate matter by about 500 pounds each year compared to the diesel buses it replaces. Photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech.

Kansas City Public Schools says the buses will reduce NOx emissions by more than 55,000 pounds and particulate matter by about 500 pounds each year compared to the diesel buses they replace. Photo courtesy of Roush CleanTech

The school district acquired 155 Blue Bird Type C propane buses through a contract with Student Transportation of America (STA).

“Kansas City is a progressive, tech-focused city, and we are always looking to provide outstanding service for our students,” says Chris Walls, director of transportation for KCPS. “In addition to reducing emissions, the propane school buses are much quieter. That means the driver can hear and communicate better with the students on board. Plus, the local neighborhood will no longer have to deal with our former noisy diesel bus warm ups at 4 a.m.”

The buses, KCPS says, will reduce NOx emissions by more than 55,000 pounds and particulate matter by about 500 pounds each year compared to the diesel buses they replace.

“Domestically produced, clean-burning propane autogas is a perfect fit for Kansas City’s school bus fleet,” says Doug Gallagher, senior vice president of fleet and maintenance for STA. “We convey to school districts that there are economic, safety and environmental benefits to propane-powered school buses.”

KCPS says it pays 50 percent less per gallon for propane compared with diesel, for an expected savings of about $500,000 annually. It also expects another $55,000 savings each year in maintenance costs.

Walls says every dollar saved in transportation will be put back into the classroom.

“The fuel system technology on these buses offers reliable performance in cold weather all the way down to negative 40 degrees,” says Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales at Roush CleanTech, the manufacturer of the propane fuel system. “Operating propane buses provides peace of mind to the district because the fuel can handle extreme conditions without impacting the driver.”

KCPS recently installed a refueling station on school grounds that can fuel four buses at once.

“It was a simple decision for us to choose propane because everyone wins,” Walls says.

Joe McCarthy

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is an Associate Editor of LP Gas Magazine. You can contact him at jmccarthy@northcoastmedia.net and at 216-363-7930.

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