school bus company M.L. Bradley Ltd. has agreed to undertake
a pilot project with the Quebec based Lion Electric Co. to
test out one of their electric school buses.
The bus, nicknamed
“the ice cream truck” by M.L. Bradley because of the music
it plays whenever it comes to a stop, contains five batteries
and can go up to 150 km on a single charge.
Bradley general manager Andrew Both proudly
stands in front of the company’s new electric
bus. Fred Sherwin/Photo
The company is
taking advantage of an incentive program provided by the Ontario
Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to provide buses on
a pilot project basis to school bus operators across the province.
M.L. Bradley general
manager Andrew Both says the company is eager to test out
the electric buses given the fact that the cost of diesel
fuel has gone up by 20 per cent as a total percentage of their
operating budget over the past 10 years.
But while the electric
buses will allow school bus operators to save on fuel the
actual cost of the bus itself is extremely prohibitive. While
the average cost of a diesel-powered school bus is about $100,000,
an electric school bus costs more than three times as much,
coming in at $360,000.
Despite the cost,
Both predicts that electric school buses are the way of the
“You can see it
being undertaken in California and Quebec. So I would hope
we’re moving in that direction. It’s better for the environment.
It’s better for the kids that you’re transporting, but there’s
a lot of money in this,” says Both.
on fuel costs, the buses are extremely quiet. So much so,
in fact, that they are equipped with a P.A. system which plays
music as they come to stop, thus the nickname “the ice cream
M.L. Bradley is
currently recruiting new drivers for the upcoming school year
and the provincial government is providing separate incentive
bonuses of $1,000 each for drivers who stay with the company
from September to December, and from January to June.
To be eligible,
drivers must start oper-ating a school bus at the beginning
of the school year.
M.L. Bradley provides
training for new drivers who must first pass a certified CPR
course before their training can begin.
Driving a school
bus can provide a decent income for retired or semi-retired
individuals looking to remain busy.
Most drivers work
split shifts based on the school day. The first shift can
begin between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and runs for 90 minutes
to two hours depending on the route. The afternoon shift can
begin as early as 2 p.m. and lasts the same length of time.
M.L. Bradley places a strong emphasis on safety and the company
strives to continually improve and create driver awareness
through regular safety meetings and refresher courses.
They also conduct
on-route safety audits during which supervisors ride on board
with the drivers while they travel their routes.
For more information
visit the M.L. Bradley website at www.mlbradley.com.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our
local business partners.)