Sloughhouse, CA (February 19, 2016) – For the first time in the nine year history of the Love the Bus program, the American School Bus Council (ASBC) held its premier annual event on the west coast, recognizing the vital role school bus drivers play in the lives of students and honoring a California school district for its commitment to the yellow school bus.
The 2016 Love the Bus Main Event was held at Cosumnes River Elementary School (CRES), a vibrant school in a partially rural community outside of Sacramento that is heavily reliant on school bus transportation to bring its students to and from school every day. Cosumnes River’s full enrollment of 500 students wore bright yellow I Love the Bus t-shirts and listened to United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, Congressman Ami Bera, and Elk Grove Unified School District Superintendent Chris Hoffman talk about the importance of thanking their school bus drivers and appreciating the school bus.
Mr. Blumenfeld highlighted the EPA’s Clean School Bus program as an example of his agency’s commitment to pupil transportation and reminded the students that each school bus route takes approximately 36 cars off the road. He told the students that from his perspective, “The yellow school bus is the best bus there is”.
Congressman Bera said that as a product of California public schools, he was honored that ASBC chose to come to California for this year’s Love the Bus main event. He told students that school buses keep them safe and are a reliable way to bring them to and from school. Closing his remarks, the Congressman asked the CRES students to proclaim their love for the bus “loud enough that President Obama can hear you” and indeed they did.
In addition, ASBC presented a School Bus Champion Award to Elk Grove Unified School District (home to Cosumnes River ES) in recognition of Elk Grove’s commitment to the yellow school bus and investment in school buses that run on alternative fuels and employ advanced emission mitigation measures. Although school buses are not required by law in California, Elk Grove USD has relied heavily on the yellow school bus as a safe and reliable transportation solution in one of California’s fastest growing school districts. Over 60% of CRES students ride the bus to and from school each day, and the fleet that serves them includes a propane-fueled bus, 25 compressed natural gas buses, and clean diesel buses that are supported by top-of-the-line filters.
Cosumnes River ES Principal Michael Gulden was an omnipresent host throughout the event and was very pleased to give school buses and school bus drivers recognition. He said, “Buses and their drivers are our lifeline to the community. Our school is located on a two lane highway that also serves as the primary commute path between the foothill communities and downtown Sacramento. By virtue of keeping many of our parents out of traffic every morning and afternoon, our bus services help keep our roads that much safer. For that, we are endlessly grateful!”
Two other highlights of this event were provided by CRES students. First, the program began with third grade students singing a custom version of Wheels on the Bus to the whole room’s amusement and great applause. Second, when Elk Grove USD Director of Transportation Jill Gayaldo announced that in gratitude for being wonderful Love the Bus hosts, Cosumnes River Elementary would be awarded one free field trip for the entire school, cheers, squeels, and fist pumping followed from the students. For the kids, this announcement was all the more reason to love the yellow school bus, whether it is taking them to school, home from school, or on an unexpected field trip.