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Ottawa, Aug 20 (Canadian-Media): As part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan -- Ontario’s five year plan to fight climate change, reduce greenhouse gas pollution and transition to a low-carbon economy -- Ontario is investing $8 million this year – initiated by proceeds from Ontario's carbon market -- in a new Electric School Bus Pilot Program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enabling students a safe, clean transit option to and from school, media reports said.
“Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and our carbon market work together to support innovative ideas like this electric school bus pilot that will reduce harmful greenhouse gas pollution, help create a cleaner, low-carbon future, and inspire our children in the process,” Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
Cars reportedly account for more Greenhouse gases emissions than industries such as iron, steel, cement, and chemicals combined.
The aim of Ontario’s five-year Climate Change Action Plan, according to official reports, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
The Electric School Bus Pilot Program (ESB Pilot) provides funding to school bus operators to determine if ESBs can operate reliably and cost effectively in Ontario in a range of weather conditions.
“The electric school bus pilot is another way our government is doing its part to help fight climate change. This pilot program will help us better understand how electric school buses could operate across Ontario. And children riding in an electric school bus will have the added benefit of seeing the possibilities in creating a greener, cleaner environment,” Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.
The pilot program will run from Dec. 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 13, 2017.
To apply for funding under the ESB Pilot, an eligible applicant must be a school bus operator that provides public or private school student transportation in Ontario.
A condition for funding required collection and analyzing of ESB performance data of the successful applicants by a third-party researcher hired by the Ministry of Transportation.
Data collected on the performance of the ESB will be used to develop a business case for their adoption by school bus operators, and also a examine their potential within student transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
Selection of Ontario’s school bus operators’ applications for funding to purchase an electric school bus and associated charging infrastructure would reportedly be based on their experience in student transportation, ability to successfully deliver a pilot project, as well as their location in Ontario, type of route serviced, and the size of their school bus fleet.
“For many students in Ontario, the school day begins when they step on the bus in the morning and ends when it returns them home safely. By adding electric school buses to our student transportation system, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give our students a healthier school experience from pick up to drop off,” Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education.
Approximately 100 electric school buses reportedly are currently in use in North America and their use is growing in jurisdictions, including California and Quebec.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)