KIPP Jacksonville Schools Deploys All-Propane School Bus Fleet

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Kipp Jacksonville Schools deploys a brand new fleet of school buses from Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech. This is the first 100-percent propane fleet for a U.S. charter school.

KIPP Jacksonville Schools deployed its first-ever fleet of school buses to transport students to and from the area campus. It's the first 100-percent propane-fueled fleet for a U.S. charter school.

KIPP Jacksonville Schools deployed its first-ever fleet of school buses to transport students to and from the area campus. It's the first 100-percent propane-fueled fleet for a U.S. charter school.

We consulted with our Blue Bird dealer, Florida Transportation Systems, on available options, and were impressed by the safe and clean-operating properties of propane-fueled buses.

This school year, KIPP Jacksonville Schools deployed its first-ever fleet of school buses to transport students to and from the area campus. Along with this accomplishment, it’s the first 100-percent propane-fueled school bus fleet for a U.S. charter school.

“As the size of our campus expanded along with the number of students, it was time to have our own means of transportation,” said Bobby Kennedy, founding transportation manager of KIPP Jacksonville Schools. “We consulted with our Blue Bird dealer, Florida Transportation Systems, on available options, and were impressed by the safe and clean-operating properties of propane-fueled buses.”

The charter school’s 14 Blue Bird Vision Propane buses will help lower its carbon footprint while providing dependable transportation to its students. The buses emit 80 percent fewer smog-producing hydrocarbons and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared with diesel. These ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems are Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certified.

“When compared with other fuel types, propane naturally runs cleaner, making for a more pleasant ride for both KIPP Jacksonville Schools’ passengers and drivers,” said Brian Carney, executive director of school bus and customer support for ROUSH CleanTech, manufacturer of the buses’ propane fuel system. “It also has noticeably quieter operation and increased maintenance savings overall.”

According to Kennedy, KIPP Jacksonville Schools’ drivers stated that the Ford 6.8L V10 engines in their Blue Bird propane buses are responsive in acceleration, providing them the confidence to speed up in heavy traffic areas. Drivers also reported how quiet the engine is and that the buses do not heat excessively at their feet compared with diesel models. 

“More than 650 school districts across the U.S. and Canada have added our cost-effective, reliable Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses to their fleets, including 10 districts in Florida that operate over 440 propane buses total,” said Phil Horlock, President and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. “I congratulate KIPP Jacksonville Schools for being a leader for other charter schools to explore alternative-fuel use in their school bus fleets.”

Propane is economical and allows schools to save money both at the pump and with maintenance and service. KIPP Jacksonville Schools currently pays about half the cost per gallon for propane compared with the average cost for diesel in the area. Less maintenance is required on propane buses due to the clean-burning properties of the fuel.

As KIPP Jacksonville Schools continues its growth, the charter school plans to continue purchasing only propane-fueled buses.

About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio.

About ROUSH CleanTech: ROUSH CleanTech, an industry leader of alternative fuel vehicle technology, is a division of ROUSH Enterprises based in Livonia, Michigan. ROUSH CleanTech designs, engineers, manufactures and installs propane autogas fuel system technology for medium-duty Ford commercial vehicles, and Type A and Type C Blue Bird school buses, and compressed natural gas fuel systems for Type C Blue Bird school buses. As a Ford QVM-certified alternative fuel vehicle manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech delivers economical, clean and domestically produced fueling options for fleets across North America. Learn more at ROUSHcleantech.com or by calling 800.59.ROUSH. 

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Melanie Pikosky
ROUSH CleanTech
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