School bus company searches for more room in Yorktown


While schoolchildren love to sing the lyrics, “Bus wheels go round in circles,” a company specializing in ensuring that there are school bus wheels to rotate is considering moving from Elmsford to a nearby location. Yorktown which offers more space.

Bird Bus Sales & Service, which currently operates a facility on Warehouse Lane in Elmsford, has applied to the City of Yorktown for approval of the site plan and a special use permit that would allow it to move to 3805 Crompond Road in Yorktown .

Part of the proposed Bird Bus site on Crompond Road in Yorktown. Photo via Google Maps.

“We are the largest school bus distributor in Long Island, New York and Westchester,” Robert Reichenbach, vice president of Bird Bus Sales & Service, told the Business Journal. “We have a facility in Plainview, New York, and have the current facility in Elmsford.

“We are looking to move from Elmsford to the Yorktown area,” he continued, “because we realize we’re going to need a little more space and we want to own the property and give back to the community. We serve all operators, all school districts in Westchester County. “

The proposed site covers 2.74 acres and is east of the intersection of Crompond Road and Garden Lane. There are two plots measuring 1.71 and 1.03 acres. The first includes the buildings where the car dealership Taconic Kia operated, while the second was used for vehicle storage.

There are two buildings on the 1.71 acre site, a 7,500 square foot one-story stucco building that was used as the car dealer’s showroom and offices, and a 7,600 masonry garage. square feet where vehicle maintenance took place.

Bird Bus proposes to put up a new facade on what was once the car dealership and to raise the roof of the garage building since the current height is inadequate for school buses.

He says there won’t be the vehicle delivery truck business like at a car dealership, since school buses are driven to the dealership by the manufacturer rather than being trucked. Bird Bus claims that only light maintenance such as oil changes and preparation of vehicles for sale would take place in the garage area, and no heavy service or body repair work will take place at the facility. proposed.

“We distribute Blue Bird, Micro Bird and Collins school buses,” Reichenbach said. “We are the leader in electric school buses in New York State and one of the leaders on the East Coast as well. We operate the same as a car dealership, but we are a business-to-business operation as opposed to a business-to-consumer operation.

Reichenbach said most of the company’s sales activity takes place off-site and activity at the Crompond Road site will be limited.

“We do a pre-inspection of the vehicle, making sure the vehicle is in working order, then the New York State Department of Transportation steps in and performs a new in-service inspection on the vehicle before delivering the vehicle. “said Reichenbach. .

Blue Bird vehicles are manufactured in Fort Valley, Georgia. Micro Bird buses are made in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada, while Collins’ buses are made in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The Bird Bus location on Warehouse Lane in Elmsford.  Photo by Peter Katz.
The Bird Bus location on Warehouse Lane in Elmsford. Photo by Peter Katz.

Reichenbach said there are more than 45,000 school buses on New York State roads, with more than 10,000 school buses operating in New York City.

“Blue Bird is the leader in alternative fuel school buses, with over 30,000 on the road replacing traditional diesel-powered buses,” said Reichenbach. “School systems are really pushing for this. Over the next few years, by 2024, federal government restrictions will make it more expensive to operate a diesel bus and the entire auto industry will switch to alternative fuels. “

Reichenbach said Bird Bus is currently working with a school district in Westchester to introduce electric buses in a program that would be supported by a state grant.

“I expect 11 more electric buses will be brought to our Plainview, Long Island location sometime in late November or December. It would be the same type of vehicle that we are working on for Westchester, ”said Reichenbach.

Four Blue Bird electric buses have been put into service with the Suffolk Bay Shore Transportation Service, serving the Bay Shore School District on Long Island. It was reported that the district transportation manager estimated that the operating and maintenance costs for electric buses would be around 17 cents per mile, compared to 75 cents per mile for a diesel bus. Electric buses can travel approximately 120 miles between charges.

The White Plains City School District showcased five electric buses manufactured by Lion Electric during the 2018-19 school year as part of a program developed by Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and National Express .

Voters in the Bethlehem, New York school district in May approved the purchase of nine electric buses for about $ 163,000 each. Spending of up to $ 200,000 has also been approved for charging stations and other infrastructure.

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