Los Angeles Unified Transportation Recognized for Achievements in CNG

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The Los Angeles Unified School District won an achievement award last week from the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation for flipping its fleet over the last several years from one of the oldest in the nation to become the largest alternative fuel school bus operator.

Los Angeles Unified was recognized during the National Natural Gas Vehicle Summit in Boston. The 18th annual National NGV Achievement Award was presented by NGVAmerica and the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation.

LAUSD owns 1,300 buses, though the full fleet is about twice that size when one factors in buses owned by contractors like First Student and Student Transportation of America, many of which also run on natural gas or propane. Enrique Boull’t, the district’s transportation director, said a recent purchase of 260 CNG buses, half from Blue Bird and half from Thomas Built Buses, brings the natural gas fleet to 402 buses, or nearly a third of the entire fleet.

“I’m extremely fortunate to have the support of our Board and Superintendent and be in a position to partner with the South Coast Management District, bus manufacturers, distributors and fuel providers to modernize the District’s school bus fleet infrastructure while improving the air quality for LAUSD students,” he said.

LAUSD’s turnaround began in 2003, when the Los Angeles Board of Education adopted the Healthy Breathing Initiative mandating that the district accept bids to purchase or contract buses that meet strict emission standards.  In light of the EPA’s National Clean School Bus Program, which started at about the same time, LAUSD’s proactive stance effected similar programs throughout the country.

Boull’t added that transportation is expected to fully incorporate B-5 biodiesel for the remainder of the district’s diesel fleet by the end of 2010.