Providence Public Schools partners with First Student to deploy first electric school buses in R.I.

PROVIDENCE – Hundreds of Providence Public School District students will soon be riding electric buses to and from school, PPSD and First Student recently announced.

First Student, the district’s transportation partner, will be deploying four new electric school buses, which will be introduced during an official launch event at its building at 3 Ricom Way on Nov. 27 starting at 9:30 a.m.

U.S. Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., R.I. Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, Mayor Brett P. Smiley, City Council representatives, Providence Public Schools Superintendent Javier Montañez and First Student regional leadership members will be in attendance.

The electric school buses are not only a first for the district but the company’s first electric vehicles in Rhode Island, according to PPSD and First Student.

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Funding from the American Rescue Plan’s Electric School Bus Rebates program, which helps school districts replace existing diesel buses with zero-emission school buses, covered the cost of the buses. A grant from Rhode Island Energy helped fund the bus chargers and charging infrastructure, PPSD and First Student said.

Replacing just one diesel school bus with an electric one can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54,000 pounds each year, which is the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide for every mile driven, according to First Student.

The company, which is the largest operator of electric school buses in North America, First Student said, has committed to transition 30,000 of its diesel buses to electric by 2035.