In the U.S. state of Missouri, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is committed to a 10-year transition program of its fleet of buses to compressed natural gas (CNG), reports Dr. David McGehee, School District Superintendent in a School Bus Fleet article. The impetus for transition is economics; education costs money and CNG operations reduce costs and release funds for student resources and school infrastructure. And the buses are environmentally cleaner.
The Lee’s Summit School District transports approximately 12,000 students daily, translating into more than 4.1 million rides each year on 151 buses to and from school every day.
Dr. McGehee explains that over a decade about $10.5 million dollars will be saved in transportation costs, “with a portion of the fuel savings paying for new technology infrastructure in our school system.” To date, 106 buses have been replaced with CNG-powered buses. Community observations include not only cleaner and quieter but they smell better than diesel buses too!
“Nationwide, NGVAmerica reports that there are now more than 150 school districts operating approximately 5,500 natural gas powered vehicles in their fleets to safely transport students and to help improve the air quality for all of us. Our district-wide initiative is the largest school district transition to CNG-powered school buses in the nation,” Dr. McGehee continues.
As reported by Thomas Built Buses in December 2013, Lee’s Summit School District entered into a $25.8 million lease-purchase agreement that included an $18.1 million investment in transportation, $2.1 million in facility services associated with the CNG vehicle transition and a $5.6 million investment in technology, infrastructure, equipment and property.
The plan includes financing for 149 new Thomas Built compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled buses and 42 new trucks and vans, along with CNG technology, infrastructure, equipment and property for fueling stations.