Top Ten School Bus Tips for Parents Top Ten School Bus Tips for Parents
If you’re a parent, guardian, educator, or are somehow involved in a student’s day-to-day, you can make a positive impact on their future by advocating for better school transportation. Here are the most important things you should know, and the best steps to bring propane school buses to your district.
1. LEARN HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
You don’t have to be a school transportation expert to make a difference. Getting started is as easy as reading this one-sheeter and thinking about how your school district could benefit from propane buses. Print out this piece and bring it to school functions, like PTA meetings, to help you start the conversation with decision-makers at your district.
2. CONSIDER THE CLEANER OPERATION
Picture the height of a younger student compared to the height of a bus tailpipe. That student typically faces a cloud of diesel smoke, inhaling harmful diesel particulate matter. The particulate matter in diesel exhaust is an identified carcinogen (or, capable of causing cancer) that also aggravates asthma and other breathing issues. Propane autogas does not emit this harmful exhaust. It also reduces harmful NOx — or nitrogen oxide emissions — by 96 percent, according a study from West Virginia University. In a study from Georgia State University, schools that use lower emissions buses, like propane, even earned higher English test scores, demonstrating that cleaner air may have an impact in the classroom.
3. IMAGINE HOW YOUR DISTRICT COULD USE THE SAVINGS
Modern diesel buses can drain a transportation department’s budget due to the extra components required to keep them operating cleanly, on top of higher fuel costs. Propane is a low-emissions fuel and doesn’t require schools to pay for these extra components. Historically, propane costs less at the pump than diesel, even as fuel prices fluctuate. With these savings, a school may be able to afford more teachers, school supplies, and funding for extracurricular activities.
4. TALK TO OTHER PARENTS ABOUT SAFETY
Propane buses have been trusted for their safety for decades — Northside ISD in San Antonio has operated on propane since 1975. Like conventionally fueled buses, they meet rigorous U.S. FMVSS and Canadian CMVSS motor vehicle safety standards. The fuel also does not ignite easily — 940 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with 500 degrees for gasoline. Propane is an approved fuel listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act; it’s non-poisonous to humans and non-toxic to the environment. It poses no harm to groundwater, surface water, or soil.
5. HEAR THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOURSELF
Because of their noticeably quieter operation compared with diesel, propane buses create a safe environment for passengers and their driver. On a noisy diesel school bus, a driver may not be able to hear critically important situations happening in their rearview mirror or outside. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and take the quiz on QuieterSchoolBuses.com to see if you can hear what’s happening in or around the diesel bus.
6. LISTEN TO SCHOOLS THAT MADE THE SWITCH
The proven performance and popularity of propane school buses is so widespread, it’s not hard to find a school telling their story about it. On BetterOurBuses.com, you can watch case study videos from these schools — like Northside Independent School District in Texas, which is saving $1.3 million a year on fuel alone.
7. SEE THE IMPACT IN YOUR STATE
Across the country, school districts are already reducing their environmental impact by using propane buses. To see how many emissions have been reduced in your state by schools using propane instead of diesel, explore the map on Propane.com/BusMap.
8. START TALKING TO YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT
School districts typically adopt propane school buses in the process of replacing older diesel buses. Chances are, your local district is planning to phase out their older diesel buses within a couple of years. You can play an important role in this decision by making your voice heard. Even if your district isn’t looking to change buses soon, your voice will make a difference when the time comes. Talking to your school district could be as easy as emailing or writing a letter to your district transportation office.
9. MAKE A LIST OF TALKING POINTS
When you talk to your school district, stick to what’s important to you. Some thought-starters include:
- What kind of buses does our school district currently use?
- Are there plans in the near future to replace our older buses?
- Are propane school buses in consideration for the future?
- The importance of quieter operation for students’ safety.
- The impact of better savings in the transportation department to affect the classroom.
- How reduced harmful emissions could help improve your community.
10. HELP YOUR TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS LEARN MORE
If you’ve started a conversation with your school district about propane school buses, send them to Propane.com/SchoolTransportation, where they can learn detailed information about vehicle manufacturers, refueling options, maintenance, and more.