School buses, transit buses, and charter buses all idle while picking up and dropping off passengers and to maintain comfortable cabin temperatures while stopped. However, these vehicles may be subject to local idling restrictions. The Colorado State idling law, passed in 2011, allows local governments to limit idling by some of these vehicles (commercial diesel vehicles of 14,000 lbs or more) to no more than five minutes within one hour.
Companies, such as the Regional Transportation District based in Denver, have adopted internal idling policies to comply with Denver's idling ordinance and save money on fuel and maintenance. Some school districts have begun charging parents bus fees to compensate for budget gaps to cover rising fuel costs. School bus drivers in communities with idling ordinances are required to observe the law, of course. The Denver Public School District also has installed engine pre-heater technologies on school buses that help them reduce idling to control fuel costs and reduce air pollution, especially inside the cabin where children ride.
What Can I Do?
- Drivers can plan their arrival time closer to when passengers will need rides to reduce idling buses onsite. Charter bus drivers may request event schedules from planners to avoid excessive waiting times.
- Never idle outside a school or when transporting children.
- In hot weather, find a shaded parking space to keep cabin temperature comfortable without using the air conditioning.
- Explain to passengers how these actions demonstrate your company's commitment to reducing air pollution and saving them money.
- Read our 1-page fact sheet about idling buses, fuel saving tips, and information from coach and diesel engine manufacturers. Share these tips with your fleet and maintenance managers, drivers, customers, and vendors.
- Ask your school district to adopt a School Bus Idling Policy, whether the school bus fleet is owned by the district and/or contracted to a private bus company.