First Student Deploys Electric School Buses in Providence


First Student, a leading operator of electric school buses in North America, and Providence Public Schools have deployed the first electric school buses in the City of Providence, R.I. The four buses are also the company’s first electric vehicles in that state.

The zero-emission electric school buses will serve hundreds of students and families in the Providence School District (PPSD) and replace four diesel buses in the district’s fleet. First Student and Providence Public Schools made the announcement at an event in Providence featuring U.S Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S Representatives Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amon, Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Providence Public School District Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez.

“These four new, electric school buses are an investment in the future,” says Reed. “By replacing aging diesel buses, we’re putting a down payment on cleaner air, lower carbon emissions and reduced noise pollution for kids and the community. I look forward to helping more local school districts and communities throughout the state update their school bus fleets with clean, electric buses.”

“Replacing old diesel school buses in Providence with state-of-the-art electric ones is a clear win for our kids, our environment, and the public health,” adds Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  “Our historic American Rescue Plan helped get Rhode Islanders back on their feet after the pandemic, making smart investments in the Ocean State’s future.  There is much more to come on electrifying the nation’s fleet of school buses as part of our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

Funding of $1.2 million for the buses comes from the American Rescue Plan’s Electric School Bus Rebates program. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the program is designed to help school districts replace existing diesel school buses with zero-emission buses. A grant from Rhode Island Energy helped fund the bus chargers and charging infrastructure.

“This is another investment Providence is making in combating climate change and improving air quality throughout our city,” says Smiley. “By providing our students with clean, emission-free transportation to school we are prioritizing the health and well-being of our students and taking a significant step forward in building a greener, more sustainable community.”

First Student has committed to transitioning 30,000 of its diesel buses to electric by 2035 to improve the health and well-being of even more students and communities. The company currently operates more than 300 electric buses that cover more than 2 million miles of service.

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