CINCINNATI —What happens when you ask bus drivers of the largest provider of school transportation in North America to enhance fuel efficiency by 5% in a year? First Student drivers respond by saving 3.2 million gallons of fuel, enough to keep approximately 1,700 yellow buses running an entire year, more than enough to serve a city the size of Chicago.
First Student rolled out its DriveSmart initiative as part of the company’s larger efforts to cut down carbon emissions while simultaneously improving safety. “SMART” stands for Safe driving, Managing speeds, Avoiding rapid acceleration and hard braking, Reducing Idling and Talking to maintenance.
“The main focus of the DriveSMART initiative has always been two-fold; to continually reduce the company’s environmental footprint while increasing safety,” said Dean Suhre, First Student senior vice president. “It truly promotes our First Student Vision of providing solutions for an increasingly congested world, keeping people moving and communities prospering.” First Student DriveSMART results over one year:
- More than half of participating locations in North America showed improvement: 163 locations improved by more than 10%.
- 3.2 million gallons of fuel saved, an equivalent of 75 million pounds of carbon emissions avoided.
- Top five states for fuel efficiency enhancement: Vermont (19% improvement), Montana (16% improvement), Rhode Island (16% improvement, Washington (15% improvement), Nebraska (14% improvement)
Reducing idling, gradual acceleration and slowing down regular driving speeds are just a few of the encouraged practices of the program. All of the practices designed to reduce fuel consumption, as a bonus, also increase safety.