Robla Elementary School

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Green Transit, Brighter Future: Robla School District Introduces Electric Buses for Earth Day

The Robla School District is pioneering a greener future with the introduction of electric school buses to its fleet, a move driven by a commitment to environmental responsibility and student health. Patty Brown, Robla’s Transportation Director, shares insights into the district's journey toward sustainable transportation.

"Our motivation was clear – the health of our students and the quality of air around them," Brown explains. "The grants available for electric buses offered us a chance to improve this without financial strain, highlighting the urgency in reducing diesel emissions and their particulate matter."

Despite the enthusiasm, the transition is complex. The district is navigating the integration of electric buses with existing diesel ones, necessary for longer trips. "We are in the early stages of planning how to incorporate electric buses fully. The technology is new to us, and we’re looking at creating infrastructure for charging stations in collaboration with other districts," says Brown.

The choice of manufacturer was strategic. "Five years ago, options were limited. We chose Lion Electric because of their proximity and the maintenance support they could offer, which is crucial for keeping our buses operational," Brown notes. Lion Electric's established presence and recent expansion in the U.S. were also key factors.

These electric buses boast features like air conditioning, wider seats, and quieter rides, enhancing comfort and safety for passengers. "The difference in maintenance costs is expected to be significant," Brown adds.

While the community's response is still unfolding, the district anticipates positive feedback. Training for drivers is underway, focusing on efficient operation and maintenance, including battery care and cost-effective charging practices.

Funding for the buses came from the Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management’s District Lower-Emission Vehicle Incentive Program, with plans to expand the electric fleet over time. Brown highlights the operational benefits, "The electric buses are identifiable by their blue bumpers, a detail that aids emergency services and symbolizes our shift towards eco-friendly solutions."

The district is also preparing for the electric buses' daily use, with technology allowing remote monitoring of charging levels and operational readiness.

Brown shares a compelling anecdote about the local impact: "A neighbor near one of our schools complained about noise and fumes from the diesel buses. The switch to electric will address these concerns, showing our commitment to the community's well-being."


Robla School District's move to electric buses is not just about transportation—it's a testament to their dedication to sustainability, student health, and community quality of life.