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First Electric School Bus In Western New York To Hit Road

Western New York’s first electric school bus takes to the road this fall in the Lake Shore Central School District.

The bus will transport Lake Shore students from Angola to Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES programs in Dunkirk, Fredonia and Cassadaga, and back to Angola. Members of the community will have the first chance to ride it, however, at a Monday, Aug. 22 roll out event, starting at noon for the District’s, and the region’s, first electric school bus. In preparation for this new, and future, additions to the Lake Shore fleet, some 30 drivers and mechanics will participate in training on Monday, Aug. 22.

In the morning, mechanics will have the bus up in the air for a walk around. At noon, the bus will be brought to the High School’s new athletic entrance for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by brief rides around the campus for those who want to experience the quieter, smoother ride of an electric bus. Afterward, drivers will be trained on operating the 71-passenger vehicle.

“Eliminating diesel fuel emissions provides public and environmental health benefits, and electric buses also offer school districts operational savings,” said Superintendent Dan Pacos. “The upfront cost of an electric school bus is higher than a diesel, but electric buses cut fuel and maintenance costs in half over the vehicle’s lifetime. We anticipate annual savings of $15,000 in fuel and maintenance costs with the electric bus. With State Aid reimbursements and funds cycling in from auctioning off the old buses, we were able to purchase the electric bus at a very small local cost to taxpayers, which will be made up through the annual savings that the bus will generate. Lake Shore Central Schools strives to keep pace with new ideas and technology, so we decided now was the time to give electric buses a try and work out any kinks before we are required to convert our full fleet.”

“By eliminating diesel exhaust emissions, we reduce air pollution and ground level ozone, as well as air quality-related illnesses and asthma,” said District Transportation Supervisor Perry Oddi. “It’s not just about decreasing our carbon footprint, it’s about having the opportunity to preserve the health and safety of our students and staff.”

Thirty-eight states have committed to electric school buses since January 2022. In its 2022-23 state budget, New York committed to fully electrifying its fleet (at 45,000 traditional school buses, it is the largest fleet in the country) by 2035.

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