Gateway school buses to run on propane next year
Gateway school buses will run on propane next school year, as part of a six-year contract with Student Transportation of America.
The contract was approved by the Gateway School Board at its meeting Monday.
Gateway is the first school district in Western Pennsylvania and the second district in the state to switch from diesel fuel to propane, said Ronald Ferek, operations coordinator for Student Transportation of America (STA).
The contract will cost the district $372,000 less than the current estimated transportation cost for 2013-14, Schott said. And it's safer for the environment, officials said.
Gateway business director Paul Schott said the savings are a result of using propane, in addition to a lower daily rate offered by STA.
The district's current transportation provider, First Student, employees 66 bus drivers for Gateway service, said Bonnie Easha, director of transportation for the district.
Ferek said that as of this week, STA officials planned to hire about 80 drivers, in addition to some part-time positions. He said STA will give “every consideration first to Gateway drivers.”
Every individual who applies will undergo pre-employment drug testing, finger printing and a review of their driving record, he said.
Schott said Tuesday that district officials had yet to decide if any bus routes would be cut next school year.
School directors took a test ride on a propane-fueled school bus prior to this week's meeting.
“The ride was comfortable,” school board President Steve O'Donnell said. “It was very quiet, a much more quiet ride, as a I understand, then the diesel powered. The exhaust fumes are minimal.”
There are also safety features tied in to the contract that go above and beyond state requirements, O'Donnell said. At the end of every shift, for instance, drivers have to hit a button at the back of the bus to ensure every student was transported. If they don't hit the button an alarm will sound.
In response to a safety worry expressed by School Director Bill Bailey, officials said the propane tanks used to fuel the buses are located off campus, with the vendor.
Ferek said the idea of using propane was developed during the fuel crisis in the 1970s. There are a few companies that since have adopted the technology such as The Schwan Food Co. and a few bread companies, he said.
“It's new technology, but an old theme,” he said.
And the buses are made in America, with Ford engines, which is a plus, O'Donnell said.
The new bus garage will be located at 550 Fifth Street Extension in Trafford. STA offices are based in Carnegie and Punxsutawney.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kemerer: Sept. 6 will be a fun-filled day in Pitcairn
- Monroeville police asked to crack down on panhandlers