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New propane buses keeping kids warm on the way to school

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The sub-zero wind chills will affect kids going to school in the morning.

Aside from bundling them up in winter gear, Wayne Township has new ways to keep kids warm on their way to school.

There’s a new app called Here Comes the Bus.

“The app is helping families, they don’t have to stand out at the stops for so long,” MSD of Wayne Township Director of Transportation Janet Petrisin said.

It lets you track your kids’ school bus on its way to pick them up and when it’s leaving school heading home at the end of the day.

And this year hundreds of Wayne Township kids are riding in the new propane buses that are better in the cold temps than diesel buses.

“The propane buses do start so quickly we really don’t have to worry about them not starting in the morning,” she said, “To 50 below, they’ll still start.”

The district received its shipment of 21 buses this year, so this week is their first big cold weather test.

“They started right up this morning and they’re warm in about five minutes,” she said.

“I remember waiting in the parking lot for 20-30 minutes for my bus to defrost,” driver Ronda Orebaugh said.

Ronda Orebaugh has been a Wayne bus driver for 14 years.

She never looks forward to winter.

“Our routes start really early and sometimes the roads are really bad and it’s really dark outside,” she said.

But she’s grateful to have one of the propane buses this year.

And her kids get to benefit from a warmer bus.

“We also have radiant heaters on both sides that run on the baseboard so it’s even heat distributed throughout the bus so it’s a comfortable ride for the students all the way through,” Petrisin said.

“It’s very comfortable on the bus the seats are nice, we’re blessed with heated seats and that’s really nice,” Orebaugh said.

Ronda also asks drivers to have patience this time of year.

Oftentimes stops take a little longer because of the ice and snow.

“Please be careful and please be cautious of the big yellow buses out there because we’re holding precious cargo,” she said.

Wayne Township has nine more propane buses on order, so they’ll have a fleet of 30 by next school year.

Click here to download the app to your Android phone. Click here to get it for iPhone and iOS devices.