In all the electrification efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector, school buses have unfortunately been an afterthought. Powered primarily by fossil fuels, emissions from the traditional yellow school bus threaten the future of its young passengers. To spare our children from the GHG emissions, noise pollution and air pollution caused by the existing fleet of school buses, the time has come to transition to electric.
It is therefore with great pride that Équiterre and our partner Green Communities Canada (GCC) are taking another step to get Canada’s 51,000 school buses off fossil fuels, through the brand new Canadian Electric School Bus Alliance (CESBA).
The school bus, a pivotal mode of transportation in the fight against climate change
North America’s iconic yellow school bus has been around for nearly 100 years. There are over 51,000 in Canada, 99% of which are powered by fossil fuels (70% of which are diesel, the fuel source that is most harmful to our health).
School buses contribute to Canada’s transportation emissions, a sector responsible for a quarter of the country’s GHG emissions.
For the well-being of the approximately 2 million children who take the school bus each year, and for those who will climb aboard in coming years, it is high time that Canada electrify its fleet.
100% of new school buses to be electric by 2040
Stakeholders of the new CESBA alliance (provincial and federal school transportation officials as well as education, health, business and technological development groups) are now working in tandem to put an end to gas-powered school buses and thereby reduce GHG emissions.
The path forward involves sharing knowledge and best practices. CESBA will make recommendations and deploy strategies to encourage policy advances at both the provincial and federal levels, while at the same time creating greater public awareness about GHG emissions from school buses.
The project will be deployed across Canada, with a special focus on the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, and will run through to December 2023. The end goal is to have all new school buses running on electric power by 2040.
Already five years on school bus electrification for Équiterre
Équiterre is bringing a wealth of experience to the Canadian Electric School Bus Alliance, based on our My Electric Bus campaign to support and educate school transportation stakeholders in the transition to electrification. On the heels of this campaign, the Quebec government announced that 65% of school buses would be electric by 2030, and that it will be providing funding to achieve this goal.
Much remains to be done, but this new CESBA alliance is a major step forward in our efforts to remove these polluting buses from our roads and our schools. For the health of our children.