First Student deploys 40 new electric school buses in Pontiac

PONTIAC–First Student Inc., the Cincinnati-based school bus company, joined the Pontiac School District and the Environmental Protection Agency at a celebration event this week to announce funding to deploy 40 new electric school buses, replacing the district’s entire fleet of diesel buses with a cleaner, quieter and safer ride to school for thousands of students.

The district secured the funding through the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, with a $9.75 million grant in November 2023 and another $5.9 million grant award in January of this year.

“This is where the rubber meets the road in revolutionizing student transportation,” said First Student Head of Electrification Kevin Matthews. “These federal grants allow our school district partners, including the Pontiac School District, to see real, tangible results in creating heathier and safer communities. First Student is proud to deliver 40 electric buses to Pontiac. This is an investment in students’ future, ensuring they start the day ready to learn. We are excited to work with the Pontiac School District to modernize its fleet and achieve its electrification goals.”

First Student has committed to transition 30,000 of its diesel buses to electric by 2035 to improve the health and well-being of even more students and communities. The company will begin to deploy the new electric buses for the Pontiac School District during the 2024-25 school year.

“The positive impact these buses will bring to the wellbeing of our students and our community as a whole is incredible,” said Kimberly Leverette, interim superintendent of the Pontiac School District. “We are ecstatic to have been selected to be part of this game-changing initiative. Thanks to an outstanding internal team and exceptional partners, I’m excited to say, we’re ready to bring 40 electric buses to Pontiac.”

The EPA’s Clean School Bus program is designed to help school districts to replace existing diesel school buses with zero-emission buses. Replacing just one diesel school bus with an electric school bus can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54,000 pounds annually.

“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda and EPA’s Clean School Bus program, the Pontiac School District is providing a healthier environment for its students, bus drivers and school staff,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Upgrading to electric school buses is a major win for the community and will mean reduced air pollution in and around schools.”

First Student is the largest operator of electric school buses in North America. The company currently has more than 300 electric buses on the road, having already covered nearly three million miles of zero-emissions service. First Student’s fleet totals about 40,000 buses, and the company offers full-service transportation and management, special-needs transportation, route optimization, and scheduling, maintenance, and charter services. For more information, visit firststudentinc.com.

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