Wapato school buses merge comfort and efficiency - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wapato school buses merge comfort and efficiency

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WAPATO, Wash- Rides on Wapato school buses have gotten better for the passengers, drivers, and the environment.  For the last year the school has been participating in a Washington State Department of Ecology program to cut bus emissions and costs.

They've installed new heating systems in the buses that allow buses to heat up in minutes without the driver having to let the bus idle, burning fuel and wasting time.

"You can check your tires or whatever safety checks you do and its ready to go.  That engine is ready to go and it's just going to get the bus warmed up really quick for the kids to be more comfortable", says Martin Martinez, a bus technician for the Wapato School District.

Another feature of the new heating system is it heats the entire bus and the engine without putting out any toxic emissions into the air.

"It's not happening, the emission the exhaust it's zero when you have this system running", adds Martinez.

Wapato has started the program last year and now all of the fleet with the exception of three buses use the new system.

The State Department of Ecology estimates the upgrades will save 125 gallons of gas per bus per year.