EUREKA, Mo. - For the first time in 42 years, buses displaying the Rockwood School District name are transporting students — while helping to save money and improve air quality. The district expects the shift to save $500,000 in the first year alone.
This summer, the 22,000-student school district purchased 164 buses from Blue Bird dealer Central States Bus Sales, after choosing to end a contract with a transportation company.
"We thought we could do it cheaper by bringing our fleet in-house, when faced with a 15 percent increase in proposed contractor rates for our school transportation requirements," said William Sloan, director of purchasing and transportation director at Rockwood School District. "We have more control over the operations, procedures and policies, plus there’s improved accountability as the transportation staff are now part of our team."
While saving the district money in operational costs, the Blue Bird Vision and Blue Bird All American FE clean diesel buses also run on an ultra-low sulfur fuel and are certified to meet and exceed current EPA emissions standards.
"For 90 years, Blue Bird has been committed to bringing the latest bus innovations to schools," said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird. "Our customers want to lower operational costs and address environmental concerns. We are here to help."
The district chose the new clean diesel buses after reviewing all the alternative fuel options. "It was obvious diesel powered buses have become cleaner and get better mileage than previous diesel buses," Sloan said. "The buses are quiet and burn very clean with very little if any exhaust smoke." Based on preliminary information provided by Rockwood School District from the first few weeks of operation, the Blue Bird All American FE - Diesel buses' average close to 10 miles per gallon, compared with 7.5 MPG with the older fleet.
"Our drivers are very happy with the choice of the bus supplier," Sloan said. "The quality of the Blue Bird buses is second to none."
Rockwood School District is counting on intangible benefits, as well. "The buses will be easily recognizable, as the district name is displayed on the side of the bus," Sloan said. "We believe this will create a sense of community and pride, especially when our high school teams compete at other district venues."
About Blue Bird Corporation: Blue Bird (Nasdaq: BLBD) 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. For more information on Blue Bird’s complete line of buses, visit www.blue-bird.com.