School bus companies must stop idling vehicles, electrify fleets under settlement with AG James

Screenshot 2024-07-08 171422
Yellow school buses sit outside PS K140 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in 2022.
File Photo by Ben Brachfeld

Four New York City school bus companies will be required to stop idling their vehicles and invest in electrifying their fleet under the terms of a new settlement agreement with the state, Attorney General Letitia James announced Monday.

Consolidated Bus, Logan Bus Company, Pioneer Transportation, and Total Transportation will each be required to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in electrifying their yellow bus fleets, as well as install anti-idling technology and train their workers not to idle engines, according to four settlement agreements between the companies and James’ office.

All four companies had been cited in investigations by the AG’s office for persistently violating city and state laws prohibiting idling engines in their yards for an extended period of time: five minutes under state law, and three minutes under city law (shrinking to one minute when near a school).

“School bus companies play an important role in getting children to and from school safely, but they should be able to do so without polluting our communities,” James said in a statement.

James specifically cited these companies for idling their buses in communities of color where asthma rates are above the citywide average. All of them were dinged for idling their engines illegally thousands of times, many of them for hours on end.

All four of the companies must purchase electric buses or “repower” existing buses by replacing internal combustion engines with electric drive systems. They also must outfit all their traditional school buses with devices that automatically shut off the engine after three minutes of idling.

Litigation from the AG’s office remains ongoing against other school bus companies accused of similar behavior, such as Jofaz Transportation, 3rd Avenue Transit, and Y&M Transit.