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Louisa Buzzing Over Electric Buses

Deborah Coles
Louisa County Schools' transportation director Deborah Coles

Finding school bus drivers has been difficult for many districts including Louisa County.

“And when you get them you need to treat them right so they’ll stay,” says Deborah Coles, the apron-clad director of transportation for Louisa Public Schools. She and her team spent the morning cooking breakfast for drivers.

“We served them bacon, sausage, eggs, fried potatoes," she says. "We had three versions of pancakes. We had plain. We had chocolate chip and we had blueberry.”

Electric Buses
Dominion Energy Virginia
With a grant from Dominion, Louisa and 15 other school districts were able to buy electric buses for the price of buses that run on diesel.

And there’s another reward for two lucky staffers – the chance to drive one of the system’s two new electric buses.

“The drivers are saying that they just love the maneuverability of the vehicle. They love that they don’t have to sit in a fuel line," Coles explains. "They love the quietness of the bus. They can actually talk to their children on the bus without yelling, and they can hear them.”

Drivers aren’t the only ones who are excited about these buses. Coles says they’re popular with the kids and their families.

“Parents all want their child to ride the electric bus, because it’s an electric bus. They say, 'Oh we’ve got an electric bus, and I hope my child gets to ride it.' I think that just has to do with the novelty of it.”

Louisa got grants from Dominion and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to help with costs, and while the district was reluctant at first – worried about how electrics would handle some steep terrain – Coles says two more of these buses will be added to the fleet this spring.