South Bend Community School Corp. adds cutting-edge, electric buses to fleet

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:59 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend Community School Corporation has added two brand-new, 100% zero emission electric school buses to their fleet.

“Oh, it’s exciting, you know, technology, if you don’t embrace it, you’re going to fall behind,” said SBCSC Assistant Transportaion Director, Bob Durm.

According to SBCSC, they’ve changed the narrative around their transportation department, introducing cutting-edge technology to the district.

“South Bend is truly leading the way through school bus technology and innovation around the school bus,” said Ted Thein, the VP and GM at Tyler Technologies, for their Student Transportation Division.

Tyler Technologies is behind a lot of the new technology SBCSC has introduced.

In December, they equipped every single school bus in the district with tablets, that will let them track which students get on the bus, which route each bus is on, and also helps drivers know the best possible routes to take to get kids to and from school.

“It’s such a great tool because it makes everything, it makes people’s jobs easier. It makes things more efficient. It’s a way of saving money for the school system, at the same time, keeping the students safe,” Durm said.

And now, thanks to grant funding and partnerships through Drive Clean Indiana, the two new electric school buses are ready to roll out, equipped with even more advanced technology, including cameras and alarm systems.

“These buses were worth over $800,000. We really had minimal costs when it came to these buses. I will say less than $20,000 so that’s a win,” said SBCSC Director of Transportation, LaToya King.

SBCSC’s Superintendent Todd Cummings also called the new additions to the fleet “a win.”

“And at the end we end up saving money and that money can go back into classrooms,” Cummings said.

Not only will the school save money, but according to the district, so will taxpayers.

The electric school buses will also be beneficial to the environment, as they are said to displace more than 30,000 gallons of diesel.

“I get parents that will call and they’ll say that they’re behind a bus and there’s all these fumes coming out. Zero emissions, I mean how much more can we say about that? Cleaner air for our students and our community,” King said.

With the addition of the electric buses, SBCSC has 206 buses in the district, and hope to continue to displace their need for diesel with electric buses.

“Our students get to ride on cutting edge technology, and they get to see that we’re innovative, we care about them, and we’re also committed to their success,” Cummings said.

Electric bus routes have not yet been assigned.

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