By John Toole
---- — The bus company that transports Londonderry, Pelham and Windham students, in a deal with federal regulators, recently implemented a national training program for drivers, dispatchers and managers to reduce idling times.
New Jersey-based Student Transportation Inc. put the program in place after the Environmental Protection Agency cracked down on alleged excessive idling by subsidiary operations in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The deal, detailed by the EPA, also provided for a $35,000 fine and an agreement to perform environmental projects valued at $131,000.
It is affecting New Hampshire and 16 states in all as Student Transportation, the third largest school bus company, moves to reduce idling.
The company said it was working with the EPA “to promote awareness and educate its drivers on the impact of idling.”
The EPA acted in Rhode Island and Connecticut, which have tough anti-idling rules to help their states meet national air quality standards.
In New Hampshire, the state Department of Environmental Services partnered with the New Hampshire School Transportation Association for a voluntary program to protect pupils and drivers from exhaust 10 years ago.
The EPA reached a settlement three years ago with Student Transportation’s Ohio-based rival First Student Inc., which transports students from Salem and other local districts, over idling buses.
The EPA said at the time that First Student agreed to a $128,000 fine and to perform $1 million in environmental projects.
The federal agency has said its campaign against idling school buses matters because unnecessary idling “affects human health, pollutes the air, wastes fuel and causes excess engine wear.”