How to Trim Vandalism Repair Costs

Posted on January 1, 2002

The cost of repair to school bus interiors damaged by vandalism varies largely from operation to operation. Likewise, repair strategies vary greatly. Some operators make only minor repairs in-house, while others run their own upholstery shops and other repair facilities and take care of their buses’ needs from top to bottom. John Farr, transportation director at Oceanside (Calif.) Unified School District, says that his workers, like those at most other operations, repair small seat cuts using a vinyl repair kit. Larger cuts require that the entire cover be replaced. Farr says that it’s less expensive to replace the entire seat cover than it is to sew up the damage if the cut is large. And it’s important to do so right away. Damaged equipment invites further damage, because it sends the message to passengers that bus property is not respected or protected. Farr notes that it’s helpful to keep replacement parts in stock so that damaged equipment, such as broken windows, can be replaced immediately. “Common-sized glass panels, with proper tint, are pre-cut by a vendor and kept in stock so our service workers can replace them easily,” says Farr. Driver attitude is likewise key to reducing costly vandalism on the school bus. A driver who keeps her bus clean will generally have fewer incidences of graffiti and property damage. In Oceanside, Farr has found a unique way of ensuring buses stay in top shape, with no increase in expenditure. Once a week, eight special-needs students from a school-to-work program at one of the district’s high schools volunteer to clean school bus interiors. Contact: John Farr, transportation director, Oceanside Unified School District, [email protected]

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