HIGH POINT, N.C. — The State of North Carolina recently took delivery of 780 new Thomas FS65 conventional school buses. Purchased for the 115 school districts in North Carolina, the buses will replace older buses in the state’s fleet of approximately 13,000 units.
John O’Leary, Thomas Built Buses President and CEO, said the North Carolina purchase was the largest single order from a public entity this year. “This order has special significance for us since the State of North Carolina was our first school bus customer back in 1936,” O’Leary said. “The children of Thomas employees ride these buses, so we take great pride in them.”
The new buses are built on Freightliner FS65 chassis and feature fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz MBE906 diesel engines, which meet stringent EPA 2004 diesel emission standards. The state purchased the buses using a special three-year financing plan offered through DaimlerChrysler Services.
“We have a long track record with Thomas Built Buses,” said Derek Graham, section chief of transportation services for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. “About 95 percent of the school buses operating today in North Carolina are Thomas Built Buses.”
Graham noted that Thomas Built Buses recently secured the bid to provide another 450 to 600 replacement buses to the State of North Carolina in 2005.
Thomas Built Buses is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one third of the school bus market in North America. Thomas Built Buses is a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Freightliner produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, American LaFrance, and Thomas Built Buses nameplates and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.