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4 Benefits of Diesel for School Buses



The road is bumpy and the bus is loud, only adding to the charging electricity that weaves in and out of the seat rows as the track and field team chants songs in unison on their way to compete against their rivals a town away. Each rider on the bus is an athlete, physically and mentally fit, dedicated to their sport and driven by personal excellence. The competitors find their rhythm naturally as the chants and cheers change, one song leading into the next, fueling the fire in each of their bellies as they prepare to represent their school and home town in the events ahead. As the bus pulls into the parking lot, the student athletes empty out single file, with professionalism, confidence, intimidation, and above all, solidarity. Though they compete in individual sports, they understand the significance of building one another up if they are to compete at their highest level and do well today. Pulling in behind them, a shorter bus. Inside, the para-athletes. Equally as fierce, as mentally fit and as physically prepared to dominate their competition today in the name of personal excellence and home town reverence. But the para-athletes did not come on the same bus as the rest of their teammates because the larger bus wasn’t purchased with para-athletes in mind.

 Sublette County #9 in Big Piney, WY is changing the way their para-athletes compete.

 Previously, high school athletes involved in after school activities would be driven to and from their games in a Thomas Built Bus suitable for agile and ambulatory athletes only while the para-athletes followed closely behind in smaller, wheelchair accessible buses. The cost of this is team performance as well as fiscal responsibility– school districts are paying for two buses when one will do and will do better for the cohesion and inclusion of their students.

 Sublette County #9 in Big Piney, WY has just purchased their first Thomas Built Bus Wheelchair Accessible Activity Bus, uniting their students as one force to be reckoned with. Anyone who’s ever participated in team sports can identify the electricity that courses throughout your limbs as you and your team mates prepare for the challenge ahead; they understand the significance of solidarity in those moments. Any high school coach will confirm, a quiet bus ride leads to an inevitable loss.

 Lewis Bus Group tips our caps to Sublette County #9 in the name of student inclusion and fiscal conservatism. It’s rare a dealership of any kind will ask you, ‘Why buy two vehicles when one will do?’ But at Lewis Bus Group, we’re looking to move you forward. Towards inclusion, towards excellence.

 Congratulations on your new bus, Big Piney!


 Pictured: CT Smith, John Copeland, Richard Griffen


Thomas Built's Electric Bus Authority Launched at NAPT | Sonny ...


With any school bus purchase, charging/fueling infrastructure is a major consideration. And when it comes to electric school buses, the ins and outs of charging can feel overwhelming. To be frank, charging infrastructure for electric school buses can be expensive and can sometimes be complicated to engineer within an existing bus yard, but with the right partners the feat is not impossible and will pay you dividends in the long-run. Here are a few things to consider when planning charging infrastructure for your new fleet:

The first two questions that you should ask yourself are how many chargers you will require for your fleet and the type of charging infrastructure needed. For a larger electric fleet, you may need your lot or bus yard retrofitted with many chargers.
For smaller fleets, a couple of chargers may work. But to make that decision, you must consider more than just number of electric buses in your fleet.

 Here are a few things to consider when planning EV integration in your fleet:


  • Route length and rangeThomas Built Buses' Saf-T-Liner® C2 Jouley Electric school bus can travel up to 120 miles on a single charge. Consider how this range fits into your current routes and how frequently the bus will require charging.

  • Recharge time – How long will your buses need to charge? Thomas Built Buses' Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley powered by Proterra® electric vehicle technology is the only electric school bus in the industry equipped with DC charging capabilities. This enables significantly faster charging than AC alternatives, allowing Jouley to fully charge in as few as three hours. Plus, with the Proterra charging system, multiple buses can connect to a single charger, which will charge each bus sequentially, so you can charge more buses faster.

  • Parking – Considering that buses must be plugged into charging infrastructure for several hours, the layout of your lot and parking options is a major consideration. Most charging infrastructure requires access to 3-phase power, so installing the charger close to a building can help to minimize costs.

    Consider proximity to buildings as well as parking options around it. With these parameters in mind, some bus yards are not able to accommodate some types of charging infrastructure without utility upgrades to transmission lines, while many new builds or renovated properties can accommodate conduits directly in the ground. Exploring your charging needs and options up front sets the stage for the type or number of buses that may work for you.

  • Managed vs. unmanaged charging – Consider managed charging infrastructure that will charge a bus only when needed and during the least expensive times of the day. The right charging infrastructure should have accompanying software that will enable charger monitoring and management to optimize costs.

  • Utility provider offerings – Chat with your local utility provider about rates, possible energy buy-back or battery storage revenues, infrastructure types, charging options, power location, grants and more. Your Thomas Built representatives can coordinate with Proterra to put together a comprehensive fleet model to determine the best charging setup for your depot, and help coordinate with your utility for a productive site visit and informative evaluation.

  • Turnkey installation – Look for an EV provider that offers turnkey installation services, managing your charging infrastructure installation from start to finish. You'll have a single point of contact for your electric vehicle implementation, simplifying the process for your organization. Plus, ask about standardized technology so your electric buses, utility vehicles and cars can share the same chargers.

  • Future-proof your fleet – Consider chargers that have bidirectional power flow capabilities so that if your organization decides to explore smart energy management with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) applications in the future, your chargers will have the ability to do so.


The use of Onspot quickly becomes a habit and it’s a good idea to ensure that they are ready for you. The safety factor of Onspot is maximized for you and your student’ when they are properly operated and maintained. 



School Bus Safety 

Throughout the school year, parents drop their students off at school bus stops with trust that the driver will get their child to school safely. School bus safety is something integrated in the bus design, but now we don’t need to rely solely on bus design and the driver to keep our students safe. With technology advancements, school districts can have a complete overview of the fleets and ensure that every bus is keeping students as safe as possible. We have put together a list of our favorite 5 aftermarket add-ons for school buses that we install here at Lewis Bus Group.

Lewis Bus Group is Platinum Support Certified!

What does that mean?


It means we believe in Lean Management, or Kaizen as you may have heard it called. Platinum Support is an elite group of Thomas Built Buses’ dealers, delivering superior customer service experience, in a consistent manner, at a good value, as validated by the customer. To be Platinum Support Certified means Lewis Bus Group has committed to leading and sustaining a culture of continuous improvement.


Our Platinum Support Program is designed to make our customer and employee’s choices easy. In fact, the intent is to create a customer experience and working environment where folks don’t even consciously make choices, since they know their Platinum experiences and relationships from the past are extraordinary. There is no need to even waste time thinking of an alternative. Customers know they will receive value at a Platinum Dealer. Employees know their work environment will improve every day at a Platinum Dealer. Waste will continually be reduced at a Platinum Dealer. Along with the help of the Change Management Team, made up of employees set on bettering their company, Lewis Bus Group identifies, measures, analyzes, improves and works to sustain issues that prohibit us from giving you our very best at all times. Whether these issues be internal processes, expectations with vendors, or communication on the status of your needs, each member of the Lewis family has a vested interest in making things run smoother for us and for you, our Customer. 


So, how does it work?

Leans Management isn't just about processes and meetings, it's about culture! It's opening the floor for constructive opinions on bettering the way we do things; it's a lifestyle change towards reorganization to help the flow of business; it's instituting clear and fair expectations that invite our vendors and competitors to do better and be better for their customers.
Essentially, it's giving power back to those who keep the lights on.
Our customers and our employees affect change around here; we want to know what's working and what isn't and when it isn't working, we:

and Sustain

When making a decision, we look to our Nine Lean Principles for foundation and focus:


 If you've been in to our facility or spoken with one of our representative recently, you've certainly heard about it. In Q4 of 2018 alone, we've implemented the following:

Premier Assessment -- we've committed to a 24 hour estimate turn around time, and we're sticking to it! Bring your Thomas Built in for repair and receive a diagnostic and estimate in 24 hours or less, guaranteed! This service is currently only available to TBB buses while we fine tune our work flow but will be available to our commercial customers soon! Look for it in 2019! 

Voice of the Customer -- during our 2018 Give Us a Grade Tour, we visited the folks in our territory and asked for their candid grade of Lewis, before during and after the sale. We wanted to hear your voices and we wanted them to speak the truth. What we found is that while anyone can sell a bus, service after the sale is what matters most and we've committed to surpassing your after-the-sale expectations. We're looking forward to faster turn around times on repairs, better parts availability, and increased communication on maintenance to help you get the most out of your Total Cost of Ownership. 

Keeping with the Times -- Lewis Bus Group has been in business for over three decades but that doesn't mean we're behind the curve. Through ongoing education and training, we share laterally. Our staff educates on "the way it's always been", on what customers have come to expect, and what mistakes we've made in the past just as often as we share new, innovative ways to think and conduct business, complete a repair or streamline a process. We respect, support, and challenge one another while sharing openly and borrowing proudly. 


Stay tuned!
We've only just begun. 

 To our current customers, we want to thank you for your loyalty and invite you to watch us change and grow.
To our future customers, we invite you to see what all the fuss is about!

Support after the sale is what we're all about! 




Rear Wheelchair Securement Module


Saves securement time and reduces physical demand on drivers


Description:  The manual “timed release” rear securement system gives the driver 15 seconds use of “both hands” to connect and disconnect the (2) rear securement hooks to and from the wheelchair.  It is used with (2) front retractors mounted to either a standard floor anchorage (L track, Slide N’ Click), or in Transit applications permanently mounted to the V-Pro, or American Seating ARM.


Unit Activation:  Release Handle slides activating and releasing the retractor webbing for 15 seconds to allow the driver to attach the (2) rear retractors hooks to the WC.  An audible “click” is heard when the unit is locked and the (2) rear retractors will then go into their self locking/self tensioning automatic mode (always getting tighter, never looser).  The “retractable” occupant restraint (lap belt) mounted on the unit will allow for easier accessibility and use by the driver.


Features/Benefits include:

  • Compact and modular design
  • Two less (removable) floor retractors (Paratransit/School applications)
  • 15 seconds of webbing movement allows Operator to attach two rear securement hooks to and from wheelchair
  • Self tensioning, Self-locking retractor webbing feature for safety and self correcting capabilities (when paired with QRT front retractors no tensioning required)
  • Retractable Occupant Restraint (lap belt) accessibility allows for easier use for driver.
  • Saves securement time, reduces physical demand on drivers, and reduces training time 



Fully ADA approved system, SAEJ2249, ISO 10542,

Complete integrated rear wheelchair securement module

Integrated (Mechanical) Time Delay.   No need to run cables or wires


Weight:  Approx. Weight: 12 lbs (not including Bracketry)

Dimensions: 13.9" W x 2.63” H x 2.88" D


Modular Design:  Allows for permanent (Floor) mounting, Seat Leg or Barrier mounting applications, as well as other floor mounting bracket options (L track or Slide N’ Click)


Mechanical Delay Release Handle - Single Slide Motion w/Audible “click” to notify driver when unit is activated & secured

Retractable Occupant Restraint (Lap Belt) mounted to unit – No more lost/loose belts (Paratransit & School applications)

High quality stainless steel construction provides superior corrosion resistance

Crash tested in forward, rearward & sideways facing directions

Warranty 3 Years