PITTSBURGH — Baseball and yellow bus enthusiasts convened here earlier this month for a school bus safety event that was a year in the making.
On Sept. 1, a group of about 20 volunteers staged five buses on the street near the stadium where the Major League Baseball team the Pittsburgh Pirates play, and the volunteers provided tours of the school buses and handed out toy school buses. They also distributed activity booklets on safety and handed out flyers on school bus laws for drivers prior to the start of a Pittsburgh Pirates game.
Aaron Silverman from ABC Transit Inc. and Roger Botti, director of transportation and operations for North Allegheny School District, spearheaded the project.
They told SBF that all of the volunteers wore T-shirts that said “Pitch in for Safety” on the front with a pirate emblem.
A sign on the side of one of the buses said, “Take a short stop to talk about school bus safety before the game.”
“It was a resounding success,” Botti said. “We had 1,600 children come through, and we had a wheelchair-equipped bus that was visited by special-needs students, too. It truly was a unique way to deliver a message about school bus safety and to my knowledge probably the first time that a major league sports team has permitted this type of event.”
Botti began developing the idea for the event, which was funded through donations from suppliers and school bus contractors, last year after he received a call soliciting tickets for a Pittsburgh Pirates game.
“While discussing the tickets, I brought up the issue of school bus safety and was given a contact with the Pirates organization,” Botti explained. “I met with the Pirates and last year was able to have a public service announcement on school bus safety done featuring Garrett Jones, the Pirates first baseman. It was shown at Pirates games during the month of August. I discussed several ideas about school bus safety with them also, and this year, they agreed to the idea that our group could bring school buses down to a game. The Pirates said we were one of the most organized groups that they have ever dealt with.”
Those who assisted in the planning of and volunteered during the event include Ben Roenigk of W.L. Roenigk Inc., which provided three buses and financing for the event; Ted Vasser, director of transportation for Pittsburgh Public Schools; Chuck Samek, instructor coordinator for the state of Pennsylvania and former transportation director for Upper St. Clair School District; Susan Weinzierl, manager, Professional Graphics Communications Inc.; Kevin Schofield, instructor coordinator for the state of Pennsylvania and road and maintenance supervisor, North Allegheny School District; Nick Moretti, director of finance and support operations from Chartiers Valley School District; Trooper Robin Mungo from the Pennsylvania State Police; Kristen Bauman from ABC Transit Inc.; and officials from First Student Inc.
Below is the public service announcement from Garrett Jones.