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One Phoenix school district saving thousands by re-using old bus parts

(Mike Sackley?KTAR News)

New bus parts can cost school districts thousands of dollars, but one local district decided to buy old buses and use them for parts.

The Washington Elementary School District recently purchased five compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for $1,000 a piece. Those buses are no longer allowed on the road — due to expired fuel tanks — but the district has already cashed in on their bargain multiple times.

“Right after we purchased [the buses], we had a CNG engine go down,” said district transportation director Bert Herzog.

The engines for some of the district’s current fleet have over 150,000 miles on them. Luckily, the buses just purchased had engines with 40,000 miles on them. So when a bus engine went down, they had a replacement with less wear and tear. Herzog said his mechanics replaced the engine in-house, and then had the bus back on the road.

“[It] saved our district between 25 and 30 thousand dollars,” Herzog said.

Since then, another one of the district’s bus engines went down. Once again, mechanics turned to one of the recently purchased buses to replace the engine. The engines have now saved the district around $60,000. Also, a bumper has been replaced on a bus that had an accident. Herzog said buying another bumper from the dealership would have cost $1,100.

“You can take the money that we’re saving off of these buses, and repurpose it for dollars in the classroom, for technology, for so many other things that the district needs,” Herzog said.

Herzog said a bus with one of those replacement engines could probably run for another 10-15 years.

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