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handle long distance field trips, but everything else will be electric.” While there are plans down the


road to upgrade their bus garage, very little was done to the garage to accommodate the electric fleet. He said the major changes were made in the overall infrastructure of the parking lot, in order to accommo- date the charging stations. “Each bus has its own charging


station,” Manalo said. “We worked with our power provider and an elec- trician, to make sure we had enough power to accommodate those char- gers. Our electric service provider installed a brand-new transformer, to give us a separate power supply for the charging stations. It is a stand- alone unit that does nothing other than provide power to the charging stations. Our electrical contractor


also installed a switch that divided the single service into 16 lines to the charging stations.” Manalo said the district is look-


ing at alternative sites to handle the infrastructure expansion, and a new shop and administrative offices. The initial plan is for four pull-


through bays that are 25 x 120 feet, which would allow them to work on two buses per bay, simultaneously. Manalo added that the maintenance shop and administrative offices would be separated by a large fire- wall, with a minimum of 20 feet of open space. Manalo also said his technicians


were trained to handle the electric components of the buses by the bus manufacturer. “Obviously, we are running high voltage systems, and if you do not follow the correct dis-


connect procedure to separate the batteries from the rest of the system, you can be electrocuted,” he said. “Once you disconnect the battery power supply, you can work on the rest of the bus.” First Group’s Hawkins predicted that


90 percent of shop equipment will stay the same in the coming years, while 10 percent will be dedicated to servicing new technology. He also ad- vised transportation directors to plan for expansion and growth. “I’ve never seen a school district


that was shrinking, so you build a shop plan for growth,’ he said. “More people are moving into areas, there will be more kids and more buses on the road. The work should be connected to make shops effective, efficient and safe for technicians, students and drivers.” ●


www.stnonline.com 43


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