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September 25, 2012  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

State directors: Why we do it this way

State pupil transportation directors discuss their states’ school bus specs and procedures that stand out, from fluorescent driver seat belts to buffer zones at the back of the bus.

by Thomas McMahon - Also by this author

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State bus quote in Wash.
Washington has a state school bus quote process that allows districts to buy buses without going out for an individual bid.

“This provides districts the ability to get buses at lower cost,” state director Allan Jones says. “The state specifies categories of school buses, and districts have the ability to add additional equipment on buses to fit their local needs.”

Also, Jones notes that districts are allowed to choose a bus other than the low-price quote model, which enables them to standardize their fleet.

Kan. compiles vital data
Kansas performs a unique service for the pupil transportation industry: the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) develops an annual report on school bus loading and unloading fatalities.

KSDE Senior Administrative Assistant Wilma Crabtree compiles the data from each state to prepare the survey, which has been generated since the 1970-71 school year (initially by the Kansas Department of Transportation).

KSDE Safety Consultant Debora Romine says that the loading/unloading report has been a vital force in the “dramatic decrease in fatalities over the years for the most dangerous area around the school bus.”

W.Va. pilot programs test ROI
West Virginia uses pilot programs to evaluate school bus-related projects.
State director Ben Shew says that the state is currently evaluating the use of disc brakes, for a number of reasons.

“One reason is the upcoming federal requirement for a reduction in stopping distance of trucks and buses,” Shew explains. “We are also evaluating the maintenance and operations costs to see what the overall costs will be associated with this change and to calculate the return on investment (ROI).”

West Virginia is also evaluating the use of specially treated remanufactured brake shoes. The state has “a significant problem with premature failure of brake shoes due to rust problems (rust jacking) caused by aggressive treatment of highways for snow and ice,” Shew says. “This project will also evaluate the ROI of this issue.”   

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