TWIN FALLS • Come next school year, Twin Falls students might ride to school in buses fueled by propane.
Western States Bus Services is proposing 10 buses for the Twin Falls School District’s fleet.
Then, more propane buses would be phased in over the next two or three years.
Western States Bus Services’ manager Michele Dameron told the school board Monday that buses fueled with liquid propane are cleaner-running.
It’s beneficial for children with asthma or other breathing challenges.
Dameron said propane-fueled buses are also quieter than traditional school buses.
“You wouldn’t know that you’re on a school bus with the noise reduction,” she told the school board.
The bus company wouldn’t charge the school district more under the new proposal, Dameron said.
The school board will take action on the proposal next month.
Dameron declined to comment further on the proposal until after a school board vote.
Western States Bus Services already operates 23 propane-fueled school buses for other school districts.
If the Twin Falls school board decides to move forward, the bus company estimates the district could save $17,240 in fuel costs each year.
It isn’t unusual to use propane to fuel vehicles. Propane has been used for more than 80 years in commercial vehicles, according to an information packet from Western States.
Locally, the Buhl and Filer school districts use propane-fueled school buses.
Both districts contract with Western States.
In Filer, propane-fueled buses are being used for the first time this school year.
That’s after its school board backed a similar proposal in May by Western States to upgrade its fleet.
The company planned to replace 10 diesel-fueled Filer buses with propane vehicles. Details on any cost savings to the district so far weren’t available Wednesday.
In addition to the propane buses, the Twin Falls board is considering a five-year extension of its contract with Western States.
The current contract runs through the end of this school year. An extension would mean the company would continue to provide school busing services from 2013 to 2018.
Superintendent Wiley Dobbs told the school board that it’s a big decision for the district.