In an effort to make the school system’s bus service safer and more effective, a panel consisting of drivers, transportation officials and school administrators collaborated on the campaign.
“This is going to empower students, and allow them to embrace safety and good behavior,” said Bob True, director of Maintenance and Transportation.
The main effort of the campaign is to encourage students to consider the bus they ride as their own, and provide incentives for good behavior and care of “their” bus.
“We wanted the program to be more driver friendly, but, I feel, the focus is conveying to the students that this is not a Cleveland City Schools bus. This is your bus,” explained Energy Education Specialist Paul Ramsey.
Every bus in the school system’s fleet has a pre- and post-inspection carried out every day by the bus driver to ensure the buses remain safe. Also, every 5,000 miles the bus is put through a rigorous inspection process.
Once a bus reaches 17 years of use or accumulates 200,000 miles, it must be retired, True explained. Because of those limits, the school system purchased six new buses this year to transport students.
“These buses were paid for by taxpayers in our community. We feel proud of these buses and we want people in the community to feel proud of them too,” True said.
The main features of the campaign include a new camera and radio system in all the buses to help the drivers better control and communicate situations occurring on the bus.
“Kids’ behavior really impacts safety on the buses. It’s too much for the driver to watch the road and the kids if they are acting up,” stated True.
Valerie Mack, office assistant in the transportation office, also detailed training programs that drivers as well as students are undertaking this year to help address behavioral issues and bus policies.
The school system has also distributed pamphlets to parents registering students that details the program’s information and goals, as well as a bus contract that must be signed acknowledging that the bus information has been read and understood.
“We know students make mistakes, but we are just trying to get everyone on the same page and make sure the communication is there. We want everyone involved and pulling together,” Ramsey said.
Bus routes and additional information are continuously being added to the Cleveland City School system’s new website at www.clevelandschools.org.