ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) are going green! Dr. Alicia Hart is the Chief of Facilities and Operations for ACPS and she spoke about how the district is becoming more eco-friendly.
“Alexandria City Public Schools had an awesome opportunity to partner with Dominion Energy in 2020, specifically for a grant program related to electric buses. So we received our first five EV buses and 2021. And we are awaiting 10 more buses, which should be here in a matter of months,” said Dr. Hart.
Those 10 new buses will bring ACPS’s electric bus count to 15, which makes the district one of the top 'school sustainability' leaders in Virginia. “We understand that there is a crisis as a relates to just you know, making sure that we are taking care of this planet. And so we want to do our part in any way that we are able to,” said Dr. Hart.
What do the kids think about all this? “They enjoy the opportunity to be able to talk to their peers because there's no engine to talk over, so they don't have to yell, and scream overtop of a diesel engine. So, with these vehicles, it allows the driver and the students to communicate a little bit better,” said Mechale Johnson, the Director of Pupil Transportation and Fleet Management.
These electric buses are not only helping the planet, but they also save money. Johnson spoke about the savings. “There's a lot of benefits to having electric school bus. Number one, of course, there's no fuel usage. So essentially, we are saving approximately 6 to $9,000 annually.”
The buses can also supply power during an outage. “The vehicles are equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology, which means that they can be used as a backup generator or a mobile power station for any building throughout the city. So essentially, when there's a power failure or emergency, then the vehicles can be used as essentially a mobile power station,” Johnson said.
Rosemary Burzynski drives the EV bus and says she never wants to go back to a diesel. “I love it. It's a smooth ride. And honestly, it's better for the environment. When you go on over the roads. It's not as bumpy as the other buses. And the kids just love it.”
A smooth ride for students and a substantial step towards sustainability. “We're very excited to continue to push the needle forward, and we will continue to look forward to opportunities to promote sustainability within our community,” said Dr. Hart.
Pushing the needle forward toward a better environment. One bus at a time!
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