Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Movement for electric school buses

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Electric school buses are in circulation in several provinces. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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The ecological action center in Halifax's mission is to encourage the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) to be a leader and launch a pilot project for the acquisition of electric school buses.

Nova Scotia is today one of the only provinces in Canada that does not yet have an electric school bus.

To try to change things, the Ecological Action Center in Halifax offered a presentation on Saturday to CSAP administrators in order to convince them to opt for school transportation green.

According to the Ecology Action Centre, Nova Scotia purchases about 100 school buses each year and each has a lifespan of about 12 years.

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If we replace gasoline buses with electric buses, the transition could be made smoothly, according to them.

It would also be one more step for achieve the greenhouse gas reduction objectives set by the province.

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The Conseil scolaire acadien provincial recently changed its school bus supplier. (File photo)

The presentation given to the CSAP board of directors on Saturday morning even encourages a pilot project with one or two buses to start.

There is really momentum right now for the electrification of school transportation across Canada, said Valérie Tremblay, sustainable mobility project manager at Équiterre, in an interview. Nova Scotia is practically the only province that does not have an electric school bus still on the roads. We really believe that the time has come for the province to get on the train.

Although Nova Scotia is still far from producing all its electricity From renewable sources, electric buses can reduce the province's carbon footprint.

Studies have shown that school buses are still better for the environment, even if we continue to burn coal for a few years, said Thomas McNeil, senior energy coordinator at the Ecology Action Center. in Halifax.

What you also need to know is that the province is very late in this transition.

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An electric school bus from the Lion company travels in Bécancour, Quebec, in 2023.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In Prince Edward Island, there are 88 electric buses and the province has seen 75% savings in operating and maintenance costs. The federal government also pays 50% of bus costs.

In New Brunswick, there have been two buses since 2017 and the province has ordered 20 more for September 2024.

It must be said that at the moment there are other significant problems with CSAP buses. There is still a lot of work to be done before it can be determined whether he will green light the project.

The school board is seeing numerous delays and cancellations of school transportation this year.

Caroline Arsenault, who has two children in CSAP schools, affirms that during the first two weeks of the start of the school year, there were five cancellations of the bus of one of her children, unheard of, according to her.

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Caroline Arsenault says there have been many problems with school transportation this year. (File photo)

This week, even for my younger daughter, there were bus cancellations three days in a row, says Caroline Arsenault. The problems are serious for families, for transport, and there is a rush to find solutions. Not all parents can take time in the morning, take time in the afternoon, it requires a lot of coordination and then flexibility for them.

What is also worrying is that CSAP changed school bus providers this year and the service leaves something to be desired at the moment. The school transport company, Transco, says the delays and cancellations are due to a shortage of drivers.

Transco was unable to grant an interview to Radio-Canada.

Based on reporting by Kheira Morellon

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