LAFAYETTE, Colo. (KDVR) — One Colorado public charter school is now the first school in the state to have an all-electric school bus fleet.
This comes as the Biden-Harris Administration announces $2,890,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program for Colorado school districts.
Gov. Jared Polis spoke at the event at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Under Polis, Colorado enacted Senate Bill 193, allocating $65 million for electric school buses in the state and accelerating the transition to cleaner, healthier transportation for Colorado’s students, drivers, and communities.
Arrival of the all-electric fleet
Before 2020, Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette had been using Boulder Valley School District buses for student transportation needs. During the pandemic and due to the bus driver shortage, BVSD said they would no longer be able to provide the charter school with their buses.
So, Peak to Peak Charter School took matters into its own hands investing in its own all-electric bus fleet.
They have four new electric buses, three of them are 71-passenger buses, which is your typical school bus, and one 24-passenger bus, which is a little shorter.
The buses arrived on Sept. 19, were inspected on Sept. 20, and started bus service on Sept. 26.
Peak to Peak is combating its own driver shortage through a community effort.
“We know that the bus driver shortage has created a real problem with not having enough bus service style days. We’re so thrilled that we have three of our own parents who stepped up to be bus drivers. One of them is a former BVSD bus driver, one of them is a former RTD driver, and one of them started from ground zero and is getting fully licensed. So, it’s quite a process getting a school bus driver licensed,” said Sam Todd, the executive director of operations at Peak to Peak.
Cost to parents for new buses
Highland Electric Fleets offers full-service fleet electrification, which includes financing and comprehensive services for a fixed annual fee over 10 years with an option for a five-year extension.
This enabled Peak to Peak to avoid the high upfront cost of purchasing electric buses, roughly $350,000 each, and provide clean, reliable transportation for its students at a manageable price.
A mill levy, grants, and a suggested donation from parents of $2 per student, per day for pick-up will all help cover the cost.
How the buses will be used
Now that Peak to Peak has buses that are not tied to another school district, they are able to offer morning pick-up at a later time this fall as well. This is something they did not have before.
Because they have more students than seats on the bus, they’re deciding who gets picked up based on a lottery system that prioritizes free and reduced lunch students first.
They will pick up 230 students through six different bus stops in four different communities: Lafayette, Louisville, Erie and Broomfield.
Already in the last month, they have gone on several field trips, but the school has about 210 athletic and field trips planned this year.