Cleveland School District adds propane buses - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cleveland School District adds propane buses

Out of Cleveland's new 225 buses, 49 are propane. (Source: WOIO) Out of Cleveland's new 225 buses, 49 are propane. (Source: WOIO)

The Cleveland School District just replaced its entire fleet of buses, but a good number of them are very different from what people are used to. A test program will compare diesel buses to propane buses for savings.

In the past, you could tell a school bus had just gone by because of the smell and noise, but not anymore. 

Out of Cleveland's new 225 buses, 49 are propane. Now the bus exhaust will be almost completely water vapor, not to mention quieter.  

The buses cost $83,000, which is $6,500 more than diesel. However, within a couple years, the cost should be made up. 

"Within two to three years, we should be recouping that cost, and then the rest of the life span of that bus will be saving us. We calculate thousands of dollars per bus every year," said Mike Bower with CMSD Transportation.

The life span of a bus is at least 10 years. 

For the first time, the buses have seatbelts, as well as a system for drivers called "No Child Left Behind."

"They are going to be required to go to the back of the bus and hit a button so it will deactivate the system," explained Bower.

By walking to the back, drivers will pass each seat and see if anyone is left on the bus. GPS units are next.

"Absolutely added safety, and that will eventually help us with routing, too, so we can make routing a lot more efficient," said Bower.

An added bonus is that propane buses don't need to be plugged in overnight to start, like diesel buses do.

"They warm up a lot quicker, so that the drivers and the students have heat very, very quickly in the winter," said Bower.

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