SVSD Welcomes a New Electric School Bus to our Fleet
We’re going green! Snoqualmie Valley School District is excited to add the first electric school bus to our fleet. It looks just like the rest of our fleet, so you may not know its electric until you hear it. In fact, it is so quiet that it comes equipped with fake noise so that people can hear it while it is travelling under twenty miles per hour. You can also spot it by the green bird with power cord emblem at the top of the roof, above the driver’s window.
Besides zero emissions, other highlights of this new electric bus includes a surprisingly strong engine that will require less maintenance. In our hilly terrain, the bus will be able to travel 80-92 miles, but has a maximum range of 120 miles in flatter areas. For severe weather conditions, the electric bus has automatic chains and sanders for safe operations, just like the rest of our fleet. It is also equipped with an inclement-weather strobe light that will provide higher visibility of the bus in fog, hard rain or snowstorms, helping us transport students safely. A free charging station was obtained through a grant from Puget Sound Energy.
Our district’s first electric bus was delivered by the Bluebird bus manufacturer on May 19, 2021.
Picture left to right: SVSD Superintendent Dr. Robert Manahan, Bluebird sales rep Rusty Mitchell and dealer Brandon Bryson,
with SVSD Director of Transportation Belle Tromp and Assistant Superintendent Ryan Stokes.
This opportunity was made possible with a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology, resulting from a Volkswagen settlement with the EPA as part of the federal Clean Air Act. The district received $300,000 towards the electric bus and the district is contributing $100,000, or the approximate cost of a typical gas-powered bus. A condition of the grant required the district to decommission an older, environmentally-unfriendly diesel bus. As we reported in April, this bus was not only decommissioned as required by the grant, but also donated to the Snoqualmie Fire Department for use in training emergency responders.
Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Director Belle Tromp explained, “The electric bus has already given back to the community by providing an opportunity for the decommissioned bus to serve as a static safety training tool for our local emergency responders. We are excited that the electric bus will continue to benefit this community with its quiet operation, zero emissions and cost savings.”
Belle Tromp shows School Board members unique features of the electric bus engine block.
The Transportation Department will be training drivers on the new vehicle in the coming weeks, so you will begin to see it around the district on various routes this school year.
The new electric bus will also be present for the upcoming SVSD Transportation Recruiting Event on Wednesday, June 9, from 5-7 p.m., at Mount Si High School’s new bus loop in front of the main entrance, off Meadowbrook Avenue. Read the flyer. Come sit in the driver’s seat of one of our buses, see all the safety features onboard school buses, and meet our Transportation Team. Also, watch as our buses are driven backwards through a serpentine course. There will be coloring page activities for your kids too, while you consider a new profession as a behind-the-wheel educator and give back to the community as a SVSD School Bus Driver. We’re hiring bus drivers now! Receive paid training over the summer ($18.35/hr. plus hiring incentives of up to $1,000.) New drivers typically start as subsitute bus drivers earning $24.82/hour plus benefits; This can turn into a permanent position with assigned routes with a starting hourly wage of $26.13.) We hope you will join us to learn more, or apply online at Job Opportunities.