LANCASTER – Students at Desert Christian School in Lancaster will soon be breathing easier during the ride to and from school, thanks to the purchase of a new Bluebird All American school bus.
The new bus runs on clean-diesel fuel and processes its emissions through a sophisticated multi-step filtering process, which significantly reduced emissions.
A $50,000 contribution from two anonymous DCS grandparents last fall kicked off the effort to replace the school’s 17-year-old bus with the new, less polluting model. Encouraged by the generous donation, other families soon began supporting the effort through Jog-a-thon and Bowl-a-thon fundraising events.
Primary funding for the vehicle was ultimately provided through a $125,000 grant from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District, the local regulatory air agency.
The air district’s AB2766 Program provides DMV funds allocated to the AVAQMD for public or private projects that reduce emissions from mobile sources.
During a press conference Friday, the clean air bus was official put into service, as DCS students joined AVAQMD Governing Board Chairman Marvin Crist and Operations Manager Bret Banks on the vehicle’s inaugural ride.
“Diesel exhaust from school bus travel or standing near idling buses can have negative health effects, especially for children,” Crist stated in a press release. “The AVAQMD is committed to protecting the health of Antelope Valley children and communities by supporting cleaner transportation choices, such as this one.”
School buses travel about four billion miles each year, and more than 25 million American students ride a school bus every day, according to Clean School Bus, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency, which helps communities reduce emissions from older diesel school busses.
While all new buses must meet the EPA’s new tighter emission standards, many older school busses continue to emit harmful diesel exhaust.
Reducing idling and replacing the oldest busses in fleet with newer, less-polluting vehicles are the most effective ways to reduce school bus emissions and, subsequently, protect human health, experts say.
(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District.)