UniteGPS – The School District of Philadelphia revealed five new electric buses joining its fleet during a Feb. 18 press conference at the North Broad Street garage. As drivers and mechanics complete training before hitting the road, this is the district’s latest initiative to replace diesel with electric school buses over the next 10 years.

Next on the agenda, the School District of Philadelphia has reportedly ordered six more electric school buses, meaning 11 will be in operation. Eventual funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are going to cover the costs as part of the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant. 

Electric buses in the School District of Philadelphia

11 electric buses will eventually be operating in the School District of Philadelphia

Pittsburgh-based BlueBird manufactured the electric school buses that cost up to $365,000. As previously reported by UniteGPS, this is nearly three times higher than traditional diesel-powered buses, yet the benefits speak for themselves.

Despite the price difference, each of the new vehicles could save the School District of Philadelphia up to $5,000 a year with fewer maintenance costs. Environmentally, the vehicles will also prevent 23 annual tons of carbon dioxide from seeping into the atmosphere.

Ultimately benefiting from this upgrade are the 10,000 students riding a yellow school bus every day in Philadelphia, all of whom are between first and sixth grades, and living over 1.5 miles from school. While the city has offered stipends to parents to transport their own children due to bus driver shortage, most students in the city take public transportation or walk to class.

READ MORE: EPA publishes first Clean School Bus Program report 

Going forward, now the district plans to rig both diesel and electric school buses with devices to record emissions to measure the environmental impact of the project. With the ability to show the difference in air quality, data will reportedly go to the Philadelphia Department of Health as well as teachers for educational purposes.