Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Putnam’s Electric School Buses Should Arrive In Next 60 Days

New electric school buses could be on the ground in Putnam County within the next two months.

Putnam County Schools Transportation Supervisor Ron Chaffin said there have been a few delays, attributed to the supply chain.

“We have had a series of meetings with TVA meetings with the company in charge that’s going to be installing our charging systems for us,” Chaffin said. “They have come and done an assessment at our site, at our current site where we are now, to figure out where the best location is to locate these. And so we’ve done that. So really, it’s just a waiting game.”

The system will also be outfitted at no cost with charging equipment at the new school bus garage set to be built off Tennessee Avenue.

Chaffin said once the buses arrive, cameras, radio equipment and GPS will be installed in-house. That work will be done over the summer. The system will also send drives for some specialized training, necessary for the electric buses.

“They’re a little bit different,” Chaffin said. “But as far as safety goes, with these meetings that I’ve been able to go to, we have realized that safety is the number one thing. And so we want to make sure that our drivers feel comfortable driving them.”

The goal remains to have the two buses in service for the new school year, Chaffin said.

Putnam County received a $790,000 grant for two electric buses last year. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus program invested $1 billion in school districts through a rebate program.

“We have to eliminate two buses that have been on the road that are aging out with miles and also the age of also the buses that we’re pulling off,” Chaffin said. “So we’re replacing these two new ones with two that’s going to be coming off.”

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