EnvironmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Examiner+ Excerpt: Old Yorktown Car Dealership Site to House State’s Largest Electric School Bus Company

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The Blue Bird electric school bus built by Bird Bus.

This is a partial excerpt of a piece published first in our Examiner+ email newsletter. 

The state’s largest electric school bus company will be moving to the abandoned site of a former Yorktown car dealership to provide new buses, maintenance and charging for districts and to convert gas-powered vehicles to electric.

Bird Bus is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year at 3805 Crompond Rd., the same location that has been empty for more than five years since a Kia dealership left the property. Robert Reichenbach, president of the Plainview, N.Y.-based Bird Bus, said the service portion of the facility will likely be operational by November.

There are currently about 20 of the company’s electric school buses – which it calls Blue Bird – on the road in its territory of operation, which comprises Long Island, New York City and Westchester, Reichenbach said. That number is expected to steadily rise in the coming years. New York State has mandated that all new school bus purchases by districts must be for electric vehicles by July 1, 2027. All school buses in use in the state must be electric by 2035.

Later this month, Bird Bus will deliver Croton-Harmon its first full-size electric bus, the first Westchester district with one of its busses in its fleet and a second vehicle by next spring, Reichenbach said.

He said the company is going to have the only facility to service school districts’ electric vehicles in the county.

“Moving up to Westchester provides a great opportunity for us to work with the towns, to work with the local school districts and convert all school buses on the road to 100 percent electric,” Reichenbach said.

Taking current gas-powered buses and turning them into electric vehicles will be beneficial to districts and private bus operators who are faced with having to start changing over their fleets in the coming years. Reichenbach said currently a new full-size electric school bus costs about $400,000 to $420,000, but a conversion would be roughly half that cost with a state grant.

He expects the company’s capability to convert buses from gas to electric to start by the end of 2023.

In preparation for the move, the current 16,000-square-foot former car dealership building is being rehabilitated. It will contain five bays and room to store up to 10 buses inside, Reichenbach said. Construction crews are raising the roof by 10 feet to accommodate the height of the buses.

The nearly three-acre property would also be able to hold 55 to 57 buses outside.

For Yorktown, rehabilitating the decaying structure, prominently seen on the busy Route 202 corridor, is a priority, Supervisor Matt Slater said.

“We’re doing everything…”

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