Charles Bednar began his career at Taylor Bus Service in Orange County and later transitioned to the public sector, spending the last 17 years at Corona-Norco (Calif.) Unified School District.
NORCO, Calif. — Charles Bednar, transportation supervisor for the local school district here, will retire this month after 41 years in the pupil transportation industry.
Bednar started his career as a school bus driver for Taylor Bus Service in Orange County, where he transported special-needs students, and he ultimately rose to vice president of the company. He then transitioned to the public sector, spending the last 17 years at Corona-Norco Unified School District.
In a letter to Castoways, which is published by the California Association of School Transportation Officials, Bednar wrote that the association was just 3 years old when he got his certificate and began driving for Taylor Bus Service.
The company had a contract with the Orange County superintendent to transport more than 1,000 special-needs students.
“We did it without GPS, without routing software, without cell phones, without two-way radios,” Bednar wrote. “We were always on time, mainly because parents were a touch more cooperative back then.”
He also noted that specialized equipment for special-needs students was rare. The buses were only outfitted with folding ramps — not wheelchair lifts. When the operation ran short of vans, they drove Crown buses and lifted students in wheelchairs onto the bus.
When Bednar left Taylor Bus Service as vice president, he said the company's fleet had grown from 60 buses to 1,300.
He joined the public sector in 1992, first working at Placentia-Yorba Linda (Calif.) Unified School District, and then at Corona-Norco.
“We have GPS now, and routing software and all the other modern stuff,” Bednar wrote. “We just don’t have a lot of money in our budgets. But drivers are better trained, buses are better equipped and school busing is safer than ever. That’s a testament to all you hard-working men and women who have chosen this life and keep doing it day after day because the kids need you.”
Bednar concluded by saying that he can retire this month knowing the industry is in good hands. His last day at Corona-Norco is Aug. 31.