The district will use the new eTrans to replace its No. 9 bus, a 1980 model gasoline-powered bus.
Defect-free buses are a goal
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) requires that primary safety items in school buses be inspected every 3,000 miles or 45 calendar days, Clements explains.
He says Kings Canyon buses are usually serviced every 40 days or sooner, due to long routes and field trips.
"If a bus is scheduled on an extended trip to the Bay Area, central coast or the Southern California area, our bus may receive an additional inspection by the shop technicians," he explains. "Should defects be found by our service technicians or reported by our drivers, the bus is sent to our level two or level three technicians for repair or, for specialty items, to outside vendors located in Fresno."
The department's goal is to have defect-free buses that are clean inside and out.
"Our image of our school buses running throughout our district is a direct reflection upon our educational system, as more of the public comes in contact with our buses than the classroom environment," Clements says.
Staying prepared for inspections
Kings Canyon's fleet is subjected to two scheduled inspections by the CHP each year due to its size. CHP officers examine half of the fleet during each visit.
Additionally, there are two random annual inspections, in which 10 percent of the fleet is examined.
In the most recent inspection of 31 buses, CHP officers found only one warning light that had failed. Clements notes that the district has had a number of inspections over the past 20 years in which no defects were found.
Low turnover, community outreach
More than half of the Kings Canyon transportation department staff has more than 10 years of experience, and turnover is very low.
Employees are recognized for their long-term service and safe driving records with annual awards and CHP safe driving certificates. The department also gives awards to retirees and holds potlucks and breakfasts throughout the year to honor them.
Additionally, transportation staffers decorate school buses for annual community events such as Fiesta Day and the Christmas Electric Light Parade. The department also holds a bus evacuation program as part of the local fire department's open house.
Each day, "our people come together as a team to safely and efficiently move over 4,000 students in a two-hour period over our varying terrains to reach their education," Clements says. "However, the services provided to activity trips and the athletic programs affect the entire 10,000 student population of our district."
School buses: 67 with 3 additions arriving this spring
Students transported daily: 4,212
Those students with special needs: 104
Schools served: 19 district schools, 4 special-needs sites
Transportation staff: 62
Area of service: 599 sq. miles