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First Student Adding 10 Electric School Buses to Serve IPS Students

INDIANAPOLIS – Hundreds of students in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will soon enjoy a cleaner and quieter ride to classes thanks to a partnership with First Student, the leader in school bus electrification.

The Cincinnati-based company has secured $3.95 million from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to purchase 10 electric school buses and chargers, a first for the district. 

“This significant investment from the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program allows First Student and IPS to take a giant leap towards environmental responsibility,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson. “Together, we are driving change and paving the way for a greener, more sustainable education system.”

The funding for the electric school buses comes from the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program, which is designed to accelerate the deployment of electric school buses across the U.S. In its second round of funding, the EPA awarded First Student the funding to deploy more than 370 new electric school buses in school districts across the country, bringing zero-emission student transportation to more communities, including Cincinnati. 

First Student will work with IPS to deploy the new electric buses over the next 18 months. 

“First Student is proud to usher in the transition to electric buses with our partner Indianapolis Public Schools to provide quieter, healthier and safer rides for students,” said Kevin Matthews, First Student’s Head of Electrification. “Together, we’ve been able to secure funding for 10 emission-free buses and chargers for Indianapolis students, providing them better learning experiences and healthier futures. We look forward to continuing this partnership with IPS to ensure every student starts the day ready to learn.”

The Clean School Bus Program allocates funds for school districts to help cover the cost of replacing fossil-fuel school buses with zero-emission vehicles. In November 2022, the EPA granted First Student with funds to provide 12 school districts with a total of 170 electric school buses. Replacing just one diesel school bus with an electric school bus can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54,000 pounds each year. First Student is committed to transitioning 30,000 of its diesel-powered school buses to electric by 2035.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that “70 percent of low-income students take the bus to school compared to 50 percent of non-low-income students.” Multiple studies have linked a disproportionate level of pollution exposure to poverty, racial ethnicity, and household location. All communities should have equitable access to funding opportunities such as the Clean School Bus program.