Updated: 07/23/2014 5:49 PM
Created: 07/23/2014 8:09 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
While the start of the school year is still more than a month away, St. Paul Public Schools is getting some upgraded buses.
A $4 million contract with Student Transportation of America, Inc. will bring 66 new propane-powered buses to the school district. The buses are expected to arrive in St. Paul on Wednesday.
Company officials say the buses are quieter and will emit 60 percent less carbon monoxide than a typical school bus.
They will also be warmer.
"Having a vehicle warm up in 10 minutes vs. a half hour is very much better for the driver and the students when they get on," says Glenn Needler with STA.
Properly trained personnel wearing special gloves will have to fill up the buses, but with the way propane prices sky-rocketed last winter, will this changeover be more cost effective?
"The actual efficiency is a little bit less than diesel, but the price of propane is less than diesel as well, so when you average the two of them out we feel it is far more beneficial to have propane right now," says Needler.
He says because of their relationship with propane companies, if there are shortages again this winter that would not impact getting these buses on the roads.
The new buses will also feature onboard cameras and GPS systems and will be connected to an app called SafeStop that parents can use to track their child’s bus route.
The company is also hiring new drivers for open positions. Those who are interested can call 651-340-8399 or visit www.Drive4STA.com and fill out the pre-application.