Blenheim Bus Lines has been selected as one of just 14 student transportation operators across the province to participate in the Ministry of Transportation’s Electric School Bus Pilot Program (ESB Pilot).

“We are very excited to be part of this important study, which could pave the way for a greener future in student transportation,” says Kent Orr, General Manager of CLASS (Chatham-Kent Lambton Administrative School Services), which provides transportation services for the St. Clair Catholic and Lambton Kent district school boards.

ESB Pilot funding has been provided to selected school bus operators to determine if ESBs can operate reliably and cost effectively in Ontario in a range of weather conditions. The ESB Pilot also aims to determine any potential constraints for school bus operators, as well as the potential of ESBs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

In October 2017, school bus operators applied for funding for an ESB and the necessary charging infrastructure for its operation. As a condition of funding, successful applicants are required to report on aspects of their use and experience with their ESB. Recipients were selected based on their experience in student transportation, ability to successfully deliver a pilot project, location in Ontario, type of route serviced and the size of their school bus fleet.

“The ride aboard an ESB is completely different from traditional school buses because there is absolutely no engine noise,” says Orr. “The vehicle that will be test driven on routes in the Blenheim area is highly computerized and equipped with GPS technology and a 100 percent electric propulsion system.”

The bus was set to make its maiden run in the Blenheim area on Friday afternoon, June 15.