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we need to focus on the cost of the bus over time, name- ly, the “Total Cost of Ownership,” or TCO. After all, school buses are bought and kept on the roads for an entire generation of school children, often 12 years or more. For example, when you buy a diesel bus, even with


today’s improved emission standards, those emission systems require significant maintenance for parts, fluids and regen activities. Districts also have to compete with the trucking industry for diesel technicians, which can mean wage escalation and retention challenges. These are all part of the bus TCO that customers should consider. When you choose an alternative-fuel bus, those pow- ertrains don’t have the dozens of extra parts that a diesel bus has to maintain, in order to run clean. There is no DEF, no turbo-charger, there isn’t even a need for fuel or engine heaters in the wintertime. Many of them start-up easily in temperatures as low as -40 degrees. Then let’s not forget about the fuel itself. Taking propane as an example, fuel costs are going to be extremely afford- able for districts, especially if they sign a contract with a fuel provider. It’s significantly less costly per gallon than what people think of when they fill their barbecue tank. The infrastructure cost for installing a propane tank is minimal, and it is often free with a fuel contract in place. Over time, these buses pay for themselves with the sav-


CONNECTED BUSES ARE SAFER BUSES


ings in operating costs. Let me explain how. Our experience with propane-powered buses shows


savings in fuel and maintenance costs over diesel of $3,000 to $4,000 each year. Taking the mid-point of $3,500, that’s over $50,000 in savings over 15 years, or about half the initial acquisition cost. Now imagine a fleet of 100 propane buses. That saves a staggering $5 million in operating costs over 15 years. That pays for a lot of teachers and student programs. Electric is also very big right now. As you can imagine,


a big school bus means more battery power, which can drive costs. So yes, they are a more expensive bus. But this is new technology, so batteries are constantly improv- ing in efficiency. As we have seen in virtually all products in the digital age, costs come down over time. There are also signifi- cant grants available today that are specifically tailored to electric vehicles. That is literally millions of dollars across the U.S. and Canada. Many districts are therefore taking advantage of these, and working with their local utilities to obtain funds to buy those buses. Zero emissions is the ultimate goal, plus limiting the


use of fossil-fuels and reducing future maintenance costs. Districts should use electric grant programs that are just waiting to be used. ●


One-of-a-kind technology means safer, simpler transportation.


The Tyler Drive™ on-board tablet provides turn-by-turn


directions to each stop, and manages ridership, timekeeping, and inspections.


Learn more at tylertech.com/stn. See Us At Booth 503 See Us At Booth 441 www.stnonline.com 55


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