All News

A Cleaner Ride for the Bi-Co

February 15, 2024

The route from Bryn Mawr to Haverford just got quieter and cleaner – environmentally, that is. The newest Blue Bus is a Thomas Jouley C2 electric bus. Wrapped in a blue and red design representing both schools, it arrived on campus on February 7 and made its first trip bright and early on Monday, February 12.

The third electric vehicle in Bryn Mawr’s fleet, following two electric utility vans purchased last spring, the acquisition of the bus is a signal of the college’s commitment to alternative-fuel vehicles, with the goal of replacing gas-powered vehicles with electric or other alternative fuel vehicles whenever possible moving forward.

The new electric Blue Bus.

“The electric bus is a beautiful demonstration of Bryn Mawr and Haverford's commitment to sustainability initiatives on campus and our environment,” says Sakinah I. Rahman, director of administrative services.

The bus has a dedicated fast-charging station in the Batten House parking lot and will be charged nightly. Because there is no gasoline engine, the bus will never require gas, oil changes, spark plug replacements, or other costly maintenance, and the students and drivers can enjoy cleaner air from the lack of emissions and pollutants.

The bus cost $500,000 to purchase and wrap, with the cost split between Bryn Mawr and Haverford and partly supported with $100,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant.

"I am excited, and I know the students will be excited, about the colleges' commitment to alternative fuels,” says Steve Green, director of transportation.

Transportation had been interested in electric buses for some time, but until recently the battery technology wasn’t efficient enough to support the required mileage range for Bi-College vehicles. 


During a sustainability meeting in 2021, Green discussed the idea of acquiring an electric bus and Professor Victor Donnay suggested a group of students in his Math Modeling and Sustainability Praxis class conduct a cost-benefit analysis of buying the bus under Green’s guidance. A report and presentation from Nhi Nguyen '22, Alice Yang '21, and Hayley Shi '21 to Bi-College administrators contributed to the decision to buy an electric bus and identified options for grants.

Charging the electric bus.

While the bus was more expensive, the students' findings estimated it led to savings of $87,000 in operational costs over 10 years. Additionally, the carbon footprint produced by an electric bus per year would be 11,500 lbs compared to 67,200 lbs from a diesel bus. And because the school purchases renewable energy credits (RECs) for its electricity purchases, the carbon footprint would essentially be zero, and help the college attain its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

While students riding the new electric vehicle are getting used to the difference in features between the buses, they appreciate the sustainability aspect.

“I think it’s good to get an electric bus and start working towards a more green campus,” says Hannah Epstein ’26, who takes the bus three to four times a week and was making her first trip on the electric bus on Wednesday. Getting off at Haverford, she noted the ride seemed smoother, and that that bus was, for environmental reasons, “a step in the right direction for campus.”

An archival photo of the Blue Bus from the 1960s or 1970s.

An archival photo of the Blue Bus from the 1960s or 1970s.