Electric School Buses Get Rolling in Arlington

Published on January 12, 2023

electric school bus

Scores of Arlington students now arrive fired up for class aboard the yellow fleet’s first electric school buses. 

With the post-holiday return to school for 2023, the County and Arlington Public Schools (APS) put into service the first two of three Thomas Built emissions-free and almost noise-free battery electric school buses (BESB). 

The BESB purchases were made possible by a $795,000 Clean School Bus Program grant from the state. Nineteen Virginia districts received such funding in 2021. Each new Arlington bus replaces one with a diesel engine and is expected to log a typical 8,000 miles annually. 

The County’s Department of Environmental Services Equipment Bureau, located at the Trades Center in Shirlington, services APS’s entire fleet of vehicles, including 190 school buses, and the County government’s entire fleet as well. 

Following delivery in early November 2022, drivers and mechanics received vendor training on the first two BESB, which are supporting APS’s special needs population and can carry up to 38 students. The third BESB is expected to arrive by the end of January.  

Officials will study data, driving and service experiences with the new vehicles to explore possible expansion of the BESB inventory. 

The County is recognized as a leader in environmental sustainability efforts. This month, Arlington announced it had achieved its goal of 100% renewable electricity use at all County facilities, two years ahead of schedule.  

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