Orange County school district rolling out electric buses

OCPS is 1st district in Florida to place electric buses on roads with students, school officials say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools is rolling out all-electric school buses and testing the viability of using the vehicles to meet transportation needs, the district announced Monday.

During a news conference, leaders said that OCPS is the first district in the state to place the electric buses on the road with students on board.

“Today, we take the next step in reducing the overall carbon footprint of our transportation services department,” Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez said.

Through grant funding from the Florida Department of Education and the Department of Environmental Protection, OCPS has secured six electric buses.

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According to the district, the initial cost of an electric school bus is about three times the cost of a standard diesel school bus.

“We know that we will have savings and lower maintenance costs as we will no longer have oil changes,” Director of Transportation Bill Wen said.  “We want to determine what the savings will be and how well they’ll perform.”

District leaders said they’re beginning to evaluate the use of the new buses during everyday routes.

“We want to make sure these buses will meet our operational needs,” Wen said. “These busses will have a range of anywhere from 100 miles to 200 miles between charges.”

Charging station infrastructure is also being evaluated, as well as additional bus driver training.

District leaders said the new buses are part of a green initiative for OCPS.

“This shows our commitment to a greener, healthier world for all of our children and our grandchildren,” Vazquez said.

OCPS is currently in the process of hiring additional bus drivers. For details on applying for a position, click here.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.