Re-printed from the Thursday, Dec. 20, 2016, edition of schoolbus FLEET Newsline, an on-line publication of Bobbit Publishing.
Missouri District Buys 6 Collins CNG School Buses
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Collins Bus Corp. has delivered six compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses to the Blue Springs School District, with 30 more buses scheduled to be delivered over the next four years.
The Type A school buses have capacities of 18 to 28 passengers. They are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% and cut operating costs by at least 10%.
Blue Springs "understand[s] the benefits of alternative fuels to both the environment and their bottom line,” said Joe Leggett, director of sales, western region, for Collins REV. “We felt all along that with the size and needs of the district, our CNG buses were the perfect choice for Blue Springs, and so far, the feedback we are hearing is playing that out.”
Blue Springs has a total of about 150 school buses. About 11,000 of the 15,000 students use district transportation daily.
The Collins Type A CNG school buses are powered by Westport’s dedicated natural gas WiNG Power System. The chassis and drive train are built on a Ford platform and carry a full Ford-backed warranty for parts and service. The buses have a range of 250 to 300 miles.
Blue Springs School District recently made a $1.2 million investment in CNG fueling infrastructure. Based on current projections, the district expects a return on investment of three to five years on the purchase of the new CNG buses.
“In the short period of time we have used the Collins CNG buses, we have witnessed a reduction in operating costs for fuel and maintenance,” said Steve Brown, transportation director at Blue Springs School District. “We anticipate this will grow to a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year once all the buses are up and running.”
The buses are designed for students with special needs. They include track seating and entrances and doors designed for easy ingress and egress. “We like the flat floor,” Brown said. "[Having] no step up has been very important for our aides, our students, and our drivers.”
Masters Transportation brokered the deal for the Collins CNG buses.
An in-depth feature article on Blue Springs School District will appear in the January 2017 issue of School Bus Fleet.
On January 18, 2011, a 6-year-old Callaway County, Missouri boy was run over and killed by his own school bus after getting off the bus at his home. A Missouri State Highway Patrol report on the accident concluded that the bus driver did not wait long enough after the student got off to clear the area around the bus before he set the bus in motion again.
One year to the day after the accident, the 78-year-old bus driver, who had pled guilty two months earlier to second degree involuntary manslaughter, was sentenced to four years in prison. However, the judge suspended the sentence, and placed the driver on five years' probation. He cannot drive any vehicle, let alone a school bus, and must perform 100 hours of community service, speaking to area bus drivers about school bus safety. The victim's grief-stricken parents did not want to see the driver spend time behind bars. Instead, they wanted to use the tragedy to educate bus drivers and riders on the potential hazzards so that no other family would have to suffer the loss of a child. Members of the victim's family said the case was not about revenge, but about preventing something like this from happening again.
The Missouri Association for Pupil Transportation (M.A.P.T.) in cooperation with the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) has produced a video about the North Calloway accident, entitled "DRIVING DISTRACTED...and then it happened."
M.A.P.T. wishes to thank the MSBA for allowing us to post a link to the video, as a means of educating school bus professionals and the general public of the possible tragic consequences of distraced driving.
To view the video, click here