FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — Frederick County has now been added to the list of counties in Maryland going green with a new fleet of electric school buses.

Fred Punturiero, the director of transportation for Frederick County Public Schools says they’ve trained drivers to use these new e-buses. The process is a lot different from regular school buses.
Bus drivers have to make sure the e-buses are fully charged throughout the day.

“Electrification of automobiles is a big thing, and that’s moving into the school bus industry. It’s going to exist, it’s coming, and we’d like to take that opportunity and try it out and see how it works in our fleets,” said Punturiero.

“We want to try this out, test it out, see how the buses do throughout the whole school year. We will continue to look for grant money because the cost for the infrastructure and the buses currently is expensive,” said Punturiero.

Each bus costs just under $400,000, covered by a nationwide Volkswagen settlement.
The automaker paid billions of dollars for violating the clean air act.

One of the stops the buses make during its route is at the Maryland School for the Deaf. Laura Ortiz’s son goes to the school and she says it was a different change of pace.

“The first thing I noticed when we were out there was that you just don’t hear the thing coming. Before, as a hearing person, I was able to alert my son when the bus was a block away. Now, that thing kind of like clicks and hums and arrives and so it’s kind of taught me to rely on my vision a little bit more to notice when it’s coming,” said Ortiz.

FCPS plans to expand and get more buses added once this first fleet is successful.