BOSTON – A family of bus companies has committed to reduce idling from its fleet of 7,500 school buses operating in 16 states, in response to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims of excessive diesel idling in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The settlement between EPA and Ocean State Transit and STA of Connecticut, both subsidiaries of Student Transportation of America, will address “excessive” school bus idling and reduce school children’s exposure to diesel pollution. Under the settlement, the companies will pay a $35,000 penalty and perform environmental projects valued at $131,000, according to a news release.
In 2011, EPA observed school buses idling for extended periods of time in East Greenwich and South Kingstown and at STA of Connecticut locations in Danbury, Naugatuck, Higganum, Stamford, and Groton. The release said that EPA observed some buses idling for over 30 minutes before the buses left the lot to pick up school children. State regulations in question generally limit idling in Connecticut to three minutes and in Rhode Island to five minutes.
Under the settlement, the companies will implement a national training and management program to prevent excessive idling from Student Transportation of America’s entire fleet of school buses. •