School district in Phoenix gets first electric school bus in Arizona

Jul 8, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:59 am
(Twitter Photo/@MayorGallego)...
(Twitter Photo/@MayorGallego)
(Twitter Photo/@MayorGallego)

PHOENIX — The Cartwright Elementary School District is the first school district in Arizona to operate an 84-passenger electric school bus.

On Wednesday, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego shared photos of her getting a look at the new school bus that is expected to start operating next month.

“No better reason to ride a school bus than to ride an electric school bus- and one of the firsts in the state,” Gallego said in a tweet. “We’re working on creative, collaborative action like this to ensure we achieve the vision of a healthier and more sustainable city.”

The transportation department with the Cartwright Elementary School District confirmed the purchase of the Bluebird electric school bus was made possible with an EPA grant through the county that offsets the costs for the district.

Located in the heart of the Maryvale section of the city, the new electric bus is expected to greatly impact the community.

“We have a huge poverty rate as well as air pollution that is through the roof,” Sarah Hernandez, director of the transportation department with the school district told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“A lot of our students suffer from asthma and to be able to provide an electric school bus that emits zero emissions into the air is just awesome.”

The electric school bus looks like any other regular diesel school bus with its yellow color, but it has some distinctive features. They include a green bird, instead of the Bluebirds’ normal blue color.

Plus, Hernandez described an electric cord coming out the back of the bird.

Like other ecofriendly rides, the electric bus is extremely quiet.

“We were joking here in our department that our students are going to have to adjust to like a library voice because the driver will now be able to hear all their conversations because it is so quiet inside,” Hernandez said.

The district has a fleet of 50 school busses and hopes to continue to make ecofriendly and environmentally conscious decisions and upgrades to its infrastructure.

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School district in Phoenix gets first electric school bus in Arizona