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It’s electric! De Blasio commits to fully electric school bus fleet by 2035

Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter introduces the city's first electric school bus on Thursday, April 22, 2021. (Screenshot)

Soon, the wheels on the bus will go, “Plug me in!”

New York City public school buses will all be electric by 2035, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged on Thursday. The new commitment from the mayor comes on “Earth Day” which marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmentalist movement in the 1970s. 

“We need to get off fossil fuels and we need to turn to all of the approaches that will help us be greener all the time,” said de Blasio. ” That means zero-emission vehicles.”

De Blasio added  75 electric school buses will be phased into the city’s fleet over the next two years as the city’s new public school bus company, NYC Bus, promising to use only electric buses by 2030.  One possible snag in rolling out phasing out all non-electric buses is the lack of electric charging stations for vehicles in the city.

In order to remedy this, the mayor’s office will work with the City Council to pass a bill proposed by Brooklyn City Council Member Justin Brannan requiring all new parking lots and garages to equip all spaces with the ability to charge electric vehicles or at least have space for those stations. 

Shortly after the mayor’s announcement, the press conference feed cut to live video of Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter standing outside of City Hall next to an electric school and Director of the Office of Climate and Sustainability Ben Furnas. 

“You should be very jealous that you are not standing out here where the sustainability czar and I have been to introduce to the world our first electric bus,” said Porter. “This is such an important investment in New York City, New York City public schools and such an important investment in our families and our communities.” 

The small electric yellow school bus will be the first of its kind phased into the New York City fleet, Porter noted before pointing to Furnas and joking “it’s electric!,” a reference to the 1980s song “Electric Boogie.” The bus will be out on the street bringing blended learning students to in-person lessons next week. 

“It’s electric! We have to sprint, we cannot afford to waste any time in the fight against climate change…electric buses mean clean air for our kids, it means clean air for the neighborhoods where we drive,” said Furnas. 

De Blasio credited the new effort to President Joe Biden whose infrastructure proposal includes increasing electric vehicle charging stations across the nation, investing in more green energy technologies, and improving the country’s road and train system. 

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