Clean Transport on Saltspring Island, the First Electric School Bus Hits the Road

First Electric School Bus in BC on Salt Spring Island.
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First Electric School Bus in BC on Salt Spring Island. Image Unsplash

Reading Time: < 1 minute

The Gulf Islands of BC have a long history of supporting their natural environment. It’s not surprising that as the world begins to transition toward better, safer, and healthier forms of transportation, the BC Gulf Islands would be at the forefront of this change.

Diesel power is the standard for how school buses operate, however, it is becoming obvious that not only does electric power keep up, but it often surpasses the capabilities of diesel in many areas. The locals of Saltspring Island and many of the Gulf Islands value their land for many reasons. The beautiful scenery, the lack of air pollution, and the lack of noise are some of the top reasons why many enjoy living there. Not only are the concerns of the people living there part of why the transition towards electric buses is happening, but it is simply cheaper for the school district. Eventually, the district will save $50,000 each year in fuel and maintenance costs, freeing up resources for the children, which are of top priority. These buses are unsurprisingly very quiet, which is good for some but of concern for pedestrians. To counteract the risk of injury, they have a built-in noise generator that activates from 0-30km/hr and turns off after 30km/hr as the tires generate enough noise to alert people from stepping out in front of the bus.

While one bus is good, the rest of the fleet still runs on diesel. However, these buses are old, and as they age beyond service requirements, the district will only purchase new ones that run on electricity. SD64 is setting an example for all school districts, as well as the children who will eventually run our world.

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