Last week, Jobs to Move America (JMA) released their official report about their goal to make school buses completely electric in New York. The report highlights how current school buses, which run on diesel and emit high levels of greenhouse gasses, are negatively affecting public health and the environment. Switching from diesel buses to electric buses will decrease toxic pollution, reduce the risk of asthma for children riding on the buses, and create good-paying green jobs. So far NYC has purchased two electric school buses out of the state’s total of 46,000.
Ian Elder, the senior national research for Jobs to Move America, summarizes the benefits of the plan to move towards a completely electric school bus fleet.
“From the climate crisis to the pandemic, New Yorkers need ambitious solutions that will create good, green jobs; invest in communities of color; and build a clean economy. If our city and state leaders get the policy right, New York can use the transition to electric school buses to create healthier rides for kids while supporting a just recovery for New York’s working families.”
NYLCV is supportive of JMA’s goal to switch to electric school buses, as the environmental impact of 46,000 diesel emitting buses is evidently harming NYC school-children and decreasing air quality. In information provided by the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition, 2.9 million tons of carbon dioxide could be eliminated if the New York buses were made to be completely electric.
Moving to electric buses is a crucial step in achieving New York’s goal of cutting down greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by the year 2050 (from 1990 levels). Electric buses will also aid in decreasing the number of school-children with asthma, which is the most common reason for absenteeism in schools. In environmental justice neighborhoods, diesel school bus routes and waiting areas exacerbate the already poor air quality, which in turn disproportionately affects children of color. Additionally, children of color are more likely to ride on school buses than their white peers, therefore, there is a disproportionate rate of asthma in communities of color which increases absenteeism for children of color.
NYLCV continues to support the initiative to switch from diesel school buses to electric school buses. More information about the environmental and public health impacts of electric school buses, as well as information on myths and facts about the potential to switch to electric buses completely, are included in the NYLCV’s Clean Bus Guide.