Millions of U.S. students rely on the nation’s nearly 500,000-strong school bus fleet to travel to and from school every day. For decades, most of these buses have been powered by diesel engines. Despite the harmful pollution these buses emit, there haven’t been viable alternatives that are significantly better for the environment.
But with the arrival of electric school bus technology and ever-improving batteries, the nation’s student transportation fleet is on the cusp of a radical and badly needed transition to zero-emissions vehicles.
Workers often shoulder the burden of technological change, and that is no different in the case of electric school buses. The transition to ESBs can either cause harm and disruption to families’ livelihoods–or it can provide major benefits and opportunities for workers.
Through research, advocacy, and organizing, Jobs to Move America is working alongside allies and community leaders to ensure that the electrification of our nation’s school bus fleet quickly delivers on its full potential: cleaner, healthier air for kids and neighborhoods, and good, inclusive, family-sustaining jobs.
JMA conducts research on new industries and technologies, such as electric school buses, to better understand their benefits as well as their impacts on workers and communities.
JMA published Clean Buses for New York Kids in March 2021 to share findings on the potential to electrify New York’s school buses and policies to ensure a successful and equitable transition.
In May 2022, JMA released Driving the Future: How to Electrify our School Buses and Center Kids, Communities, and Workers in the Transition, a comprehensive national study of ESB technology, including vehicle performance, costs, infrastructure needs, worker impacts, and policy.
JMA believes that workers and communities should be at the center of conversations about the future of our economy. We are talking with the workers who build, drive, and maintain buses, as well as the electricians who install charging equipment, to share their experiences with the public.
You can find some of these stories here.
JMA works in coalition with environmental advocates, community leaders, and labor unions to promote a transition to ESBs that creates clean air for kids and family-sustaining jobs for those who need them most.
The Alliance for Electric School Buses, convened by Chispa LCV, is a national coalition of non-profit organizations working towards an equitable transition to ESBs. JMA serves on the Alliance’s steering committee.
JMA is a founding member of the NYC Clean School Bus Coalition, which in 2021 successfully advocated for the nation’s first city-wide plan to transition to ESBs. JMA is also on the steering committee of the Los Angeles Electric Bus and Truck Coalition, which is leading advocacy for zero-emission school buses in LA.
In order to achieve the same success in school bus manufacturing, this tool should also be applied to school bus purchases and funding programs whenever possible, as described in Taking the High Road to Cleaner Air for Kids and Communities, a memo co-authored by JMA and Local Progress in August 2022.
In the News
- Time: U.S. School Buses May Never Be The Same Thanks to Biden’s Infrastructure Plan
- Op-ed in Governing: Why We Need to Electrify America’s School Bus Fleet
- NY Daily News: NYC’s purchase of school buses should supercharge transition to electric fleet: advocates