New York Association for Pupil Transportation


Joint Legislative Hearing on Education
2022-23 Executive Budget

Our Priorities

Safely Transportation School Children
Protecting School Transportation Workers
Managing School Transportation Costs

David Christopher

Executive Director
New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT)

January 26, 2022

On behalf of the more than 600 members of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, thank you for allowing us to present our recommendations and testimony in response to the 2022-23 Executive Budget proposal.  We appreciate the legislature’s continued commitment to our school districts and their school transportation operations.

As a professional organization dedicated to safely transporting approximately 2.3 million children riding nearly 50,000 school buses to and from school each school day in New York State, we are committed to managing the costs of school transportation while providing the safest and most efficient school transportation services possible for local taxpayers.

With respect to Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget proposal we offer the following comments.


NYAPT supports the Governor’s proposal to address the school bus driver shortage by temporarily removing the earnings cap for state retirees.  We urge the legislature to include police and fire retirees in this legislation as well.  Historically, retirees from all walks of life have been a source of labor that the school bus industry depended upon to fill driver seats.  The bus driver shortage problem needs immediate relief, and this will be an effective option to retain drivers who are currently working as school bus drivers and to attract other state retirees to work as a school bus drivers.


NYAPT supports the $400,000 in continued funding for the State Education Department’s school bus driver safety training program.  This training fund is used to annually train our states’ school bus drivers, monitors and attendants and is the driving force behind our states’ enviable school bus safety record.


NYAPT opposes the all-electric school bus mandate, contained in the Governor’s executive budget, but fully supports the Governor intent to transform our state’s near-zero emissions school bus fleet into a zero emissions fleet.

The Governor’s proposal, which requires all school buses sold after 2027 be all-electric zero-emission school buses powered by battery or hydrogen and forces school districts to fully convert to all-electric by 2035, is an ambitious, but unreachable goal due to the fact that all-electric school bus technology has not been proven to be a ubiquitous zero emission solution.

NYAPT does support fully funding all electric school buses; however, we believe that the state should begin the process of transitioning to a zero emission school bus fleet by deploying a series of pilot programs across the state allowing those school districts who wish to test all-electric buses to do so.  This will allow the school districts and the state to determine the viability of all-electric school buses and prevent the state from jeopardizing the safety and reliability of the largest land-based transportation system in the state.

The pilot programs should fully fund the costs of the school buses and the infrastructure required to fuel, service and support the vehicles.  School districts should also be provided funding to collect and report the data to the state of New York.

There are many reasons why the state should not mandate only one type of green technology.  First and foremost, there are significant dependability problems with early-stage technologies all-electric school buses.  This lack of dependability is a direct threat to child safety and route reliability.

With very few all-electric school buses on the road today, the data just doesn’t support making such a drastic shift away from today’s near zero emission school buses.  Further, why would the state want to prevent other greener technologies from entering the marketplace.  An open market that allows the manufacturers, school districts, school bus distributors and all the stakeholders to work together to reach a zero emissions goals is much smarter than saying school districts can only purchase electric school buses.  We must maintain flexibility in the marketplace or risk being dependent on a technology that will cause more problems then it will fix.

Further, we have estimated that converting to all-electric will be very expensive and could cost an additional $15 billion to convert the fleet.  This number does not factor infrastructure costs, training costs, new routing costs for buses that can’t meet the mileage demands of upstate school bus routes, and many more unforeseen problems.

Our state is very diverse geographically and we must understand the limitations of all-electric school buses before we choose a one-size-fits-all approach.

Without getting into the supply chain problems plaguing the globe, the state must understand that New York’s school transportation market is small compared to the total vehicles on the road in our state – we are less than 1% of all the vehicles on the road today or around 50,000 school buses.  That being said, it’s still a very complex market, and one that relies on not just the big Type-C buses, but also small Type-A school buses, which have totally different economic factors influencing their manufacturing process.  Typically, these buses are built on Ford or Chevy chassis and so their supply is very much tied to global pressures.  It is safe to say that the big buses will be more readily available, but in places like New York City and Long Island where the small school buses are heavily used, we will have significant problems implementing such a policy.

As I stated earlier, NYAPT believes a robust statewide all-electric school bus pilot program fully funded by the State of New York is the smarter approach to get us to the goal of a zero-emissions school bus fleet.

In addition, we also suggest that the state mandate that every school bus older than 2010 be removed from the fleet and do this by fully funding a school bus replacement program to allow for new near-zero emission school buses to be purchased.

Finally, NYAPT recommends the state engage in a comprehensive study to evaluate the operational, environmental, and cost implications associated with embracing only one school bus power train.

Ultimately, having a diverse zero-emission school bus fleet not reliant on one powertrain option is a much smarter, safer, and greener alternative.


NYAPT supports the expansion of the school bus lease law to 10-years but not to the detriment of our public-private partnership with the state’s school bus distributors (dealers). 

NYAPT encourages the state to enforce the state’s dealer franchise law to protect the public-private partnership that school districts and school bus distributors have forged over the last 60 or so years. This public-private partnership saves the state hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

School bus distributors provide school district transportation departments vital education and training regarding new school bus safety and environmental technologies.  They provide service, parts and body repair in support of school districts.  They provide technicians when school districts need them and loaner school buses when buses breakdown or are being serviced.  All this to help school districts meet stringent New York Department of Transportation and federal school bus safety regulation.

We ask that the state budget include language that reinforces the requirements that companies that sell or lease a school bus in New York State have a certified, legal and viable school bus distributorship or dealership located in the state of New York.


NYAPT would like to point out that the budget includes funding for universal pre-k but fails to provide any funding to transport pre-k children; therefore, NYAPT supports an increase in school transportation aid above and beyond the FY 2022-23 Executive Budget proposal to address this deficiency.


NYAPT historically has opposed any reduction in school transportation aid given that parents and caregivers across the state rely on school buses to safely transport their loved ones to and from school each day.  Given the Governor has requested historic funding for schools to include an increase in expense base aid as well, we thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to school transportation services and ask for legislative support as well.


Thank you for the opportunity to share our concerns and recommendations regarding the FY 2022-23 Executive Budget proposal.  We are available to discuss these recommendations with you further should you need additional insight or information.

NYAPT truly appreciates legislature’s continued support of New York’s school transportation system.

Respectfully submitted,

David Christopher
Executive Director

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