The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. New York City’s school bus system transports about 150,000 students daily.
In New York City, low-income communities and communities of color are exposed to higher levels of air pollution compared to other communities. The addition of pollution from buses adds another concern for these communities. The high exposure of air pollution leads to respiratory health illnesses like asthma and bronchitis. In order to improve air quality in our most vulnerable neighborhoods, our school buses should be electric. Electric school buses provide a host of potential benefits to the quality of service, health, environment, and utility infrastructure. The initiative to require all school buses to be electric is a step in the right direction to alleviate the unequal distribution of harmful air pollution.
In April 2021, the New York City Mayor committed to an all-electric school bus fleet for the city by 2035. But this needs to be codified into law.
As part of the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition, WE ACT for Environmental Justice is advocating for Intro 455, a local law to amend the Administrative Code of the City of New York in relation to age limitations on school buses and replacing such school buses with all electric school buses. This requires that starting September 1, 2020, all school buses subject to New York City school bus contracts that do not use a closed crankcase ventilation system, shall be electric vehicles. Intro 455-2018 bill was proposed in efforts to transition all current school buses to electric zero-emission school buses by 2040. The legislation also requires existing buses to be replaced or upgraded after 10 years of use. The issue at hand is that the Department of Education contracts their busses to private contractors. The privatization of school buses will make it harder for the legislation to get passed.
Read the Op-Ed making the case for replacing dirty diesel school buses with electric school buses to stop poisoning our children, bus drivers, and the communities they live in with deadly diesel fumes. Op-Ed
Read the announcement about the formation of the New York City Clean School Bus Coalition. Announcement