Driving into the Future

David Ramsay

David Ramsay has worked in school transportation since he left the army in 1987. He has served as a bus driver, driver instructor and area manager before taking on his current role of HCPSS transportation director. Here David blogs about exploring alternative fuel opportunities for HCPSS school buses.

We are all responsible for contributing to the school system’s environmental, economic and social sustainability as cited in the Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) sustainability policy. For our part, HCPSS Transportation is excited to look into alternative fuels to minimize our environmental footprint while optimizing transportation practices.

This school year, HCPSS Transportation introduced three propane buses into the bus fleet as part of a pilot program. Generally, propane fuel is economical, efficient, readily available and environmentally friendly. We look forward to reviewing the buses’ performance and cost effectiveness, and possibly expanding the program in the future.

Looking further ahead, recently HCPSS Transportation staff members attended an electric school bus demonstration sponsored by the Maryland Energy Administration and Pepco. Electric is so new to the school bus marketplace, it must be reviewed by the Motor Vehicle Administration before these buses are piloted in Maryland school systems. Ultimately, the use of electric vehicles could help reduce HCPSS’ reliance on petroleum, achieve better fuel economy and reduce emissions emitted into the air.

I was proud that at the event, HCPSS was recognized for making big strides in using alternative sources, especially with the new net-zero Wilde Lake Middle School. Our school system continues to innovatively explore how we can meet our energy needs in sustainably responsible ways. I look forward to seeing what’s possible in the school bus industry in the years to come.