Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation on Thursday designed to provide relief to school districts statewide that are experiencing a shortage of school bus inventory stemming from a supply chain shortage.
The legislation, which Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. sponsored, temporarily extends for one year with conditions the statutorily permitted service life of standard and “Type S” (those with a maximum nine-passenger seating capacity) school buses.
The additional year of life will address shortages in new buses, as well as difficulties finding parts for buses in need of repair.
School districts are required to retire standard school buses on the 15th year and “Type S” school buses on the 12th year from the date they were manufactured, as noted on the vehicle registration, or at the conclusion of the academic year in which that date falls.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, allows school districts to temporarily extend the life of standard school buses to 16 years and “Type S” school buses to 13 years, provided the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) grants the extension at the request of the school bus owner.
The life of the standard and “Type S” school buses can only be extended one year if they are deemed safe and mechanically fit for pupil transportation.
The law also allows the NJMVC chief, in the following two years, to grant school buses that would otherwise be required to retire in 2023 or 2024 an additional year of service, provided those buses have not already received a one-year extension.