GCS Joins Pilot Program for Propane Buses

An electric school bus provided to GCS.

Greenville County Schools is proud to be part of a pilot program to operate propane-fueled school buses.

“It was really an easy decision to make once we had done all of our research. We feel comfortable going forward with it. We are excited to get twenty-one new buses for reliability but also excited to try some of the new fuels. It is a cleaner running bus and a quieter bus,” said GCS Director of Transportation Adam James.

GCS received twenty-one 2018 Blue Bird buses. The replacement buses allowed the district to take all of the 1995 and 1996 Thomas Built buses off the road.

“I think it is extremely important to get the older models off the road as soon as we can, not just the 95/96 transits, all of the older ones. They are loud, they are more prone to break down. The 95/96 have also had problems with smoke in the cabin or on fire in other districts,” James said.

Greenville joins Aiken, Richland 1, Horry Dorchester 2, and Berkeley School Districts in the pilot program to provide 116 propane buses statewide.

“I am glad to see Greenville being on the cutting edge and our state willing to recognize that we are willing to try new things that are good for our kids and our community,” said Deputy Superintendent Mason Gary. We want to thank the State Department for allowing us to be a lead in this pilot.”

Bus driver Fran Singleton spent 11 of her 13 years driving for Greenville County Schools driving a 1995 Thomas bus. This year she got an upgrade to a 2018. “I like to have something that is safe for my students,” she said. “ Bus drivers don’t like being late because of break downs with the new ones there is not a problem like that.”

There is a 2000 gallon propane tank on site at the Taylors Bus Center for refueling. The propane buses drive just like a regular bus but are much quieter. The engines burn cleaner and will be easier to maintain.

“Ultimately safety is the number goal of everyone in the industry. Not having kids stranded on the side of the road is a positive. We are excited to get these 21 new propane fueled buses on the road,” James said.