As part of the Green New Deal for Boston, Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the City of Boston’s Environment Department are launching an electric school bus pilot program in a bid to reduce vehicle emissions, address air quality and noise concerns around school pick-up and drop-off, offer a healthier work environment for bus drivers and monitors, and potentially offer cost-savings over the entire bus lifecycle.
They will initially purchase 20 buses and expect to deploy them in the next eight to ten months. They have plans to replace additional big buses each year, and then begin replacing smaller buses until the entire fleet is electrified. The electric buses will be purchased with BPS’s operating budget and funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
At the same time, the city is also introducing the electric vehicle (EV) “train the trainer” program, a partnership between the Public Works Department and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. The program will be offered to City fleet mechanics, seniors in the automotive program at Madison Park, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology students, and adult learners through the Career Technical Institute programme at Madison Park.
Later this month, BPS will submit a request for information (RFI), seeking input on electrification strategies, existing initiatives in other cities, and exploring potential solutions to local challenges to electrification.
“Climate justice is racial and economic justice. And this moment requires an urgent, all hands on deck approach from every level of government to reduce emissions and boost the health, safety, and opportunity of our communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Not only are we working to electrify our school buses and municipal fleet for cleaner air throughout our neighborhoods, but these workforce development pipelines connected to electric vehicles will help support career pathways into the green economy.”