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School Bus Sales and the Federal Government’s Role in the Transition to Electric Vehicles

School buses are an essential part of a school transportation system and the safety of students and bus drivers is a top priority. With growing demand and an upcoming transition to electric vehicles, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a new bus.

A recent report by the Pembina Institute paints a clear picture of the financial, environmental and health benefits of moving away from diesel fuel and towards electrification. According to the study, if the current fleet of school buses in Ontario were converted to electric, it could create more than 13,000 jobs and generate nearly $2 billion in economic output.

With the recent labour shortages across the country, there is no doubt that this has had an impact on student transportation services. Golden Hills has been working with their partners and community to provide a stable transportation service school buses for sale to ensure that all children have access to their education. In an effort to assist with the transportation crisis, the provincial government announced funding for school of choice programs and private schools on Tuesday, which will allow parents to select a school that fits their child’s learning needs without having cost as a barrier.

The update also includes expanded transportation funding for alternative schools and private schools to enable them to offer transportation for Grades 1 to 12 with the same level of support provided to urban and rural public school systems. In addition, the updated model will include a 50 per cent grant to the school of choice in the first year to help get them started with the new program and allow them to build capacity over time.

Currently, there are around 45,000 school buses in Canada, and the vast majority are diesel. CESBA has set a target to have all new school buses sold be electric, with the aim of having 100 per cent of the nation’s school bus fleets fully electrified by 2040. This is a huge task, and the federal government has a key role to play in this initiative, says Viau. Rather than just announcing the goal of zero emissions, the federal government should act as procurement coordinator for the industry to identify potential pitfalls and address standardization and regional disparities that can affect ESB battery supply.

Viau suggests that the federal government work with provinces to provide funding to offset a portion of the cost of e-buses until there is enough supply. This will provide a more predictable and manageable investment for fleet operators while the market matures.

In the past, several school bus manufacturers have come and gone. The surviving ones have been consolidated, renamed, or shut down, including the closure of Canadian manufacturer Ward Body Works in 2001 and the 2009 bankruptcy of startup company Liberty Bus. Founded in 2011, Lion Bus of Saint-Jerome, Quebec, is the latest addition to the industry, producing full-size school buses on chassis from Spartan Motors.