Mechanics don’t miss the bus when it comes to safety, maintenance
© JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS
John Henderson, left, and George ‘Jr.’ Ryan inspect a school bus on a lift at the West Pictou Bus Garage yesterday. School bus drivers for the Chignecto Central Regional School Board came to the garage two days ago to pick up their busses for the first day of school this morning.
PICTOU WEST – This morning, when your son or daughter is traveling to school by bus, you can be rest assured that precautions and maintenance have been done to ensure they’re safe.
You know it’s back to school time when those iconic yellow school busses roar down the road in the early morning hours.
But the task of keeping the busses well oiled and up to the highest safety standards falls to the staff of the West Pictou Bus Garage, located behind West Pictou Consolidated School.
According to foreman Paul Smith at the bus garage, maintenance and preparations for this school year started on June 1, 2013.
“Everything from the first aid kits and fire extinguishers to the fuel filters and undercarriage are examined and fixed or upgraded, as needed,” said Smith.
There will be 12 new busses in the fleet this school year, including ten standard busses and two special needs busses.
One of the changes to the school busses for this year includes making the vehicles diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) compatible. DEF is an ammonia-based solution used to clean exhaust and reduce emissions from diesel vehicles.
“DEF chemically reduces smog creating emissions, to near zero,” said Smith.
“Cleaner emission means trucks and buses run cleaner, which also improves their fuel economy.”
Over the past few days, bus drivers in the county descended upon the garage to receive their busses and bus routes, along with any additions or omissions to the list of stops.
Lori MacDonald, a bus driver with ten years of experience at River John Consolidated, West Pictou Consolidated and Pictou Academy, said it could be hard to get back into the routine.
“The hardest part is leaving the summer cottage,” said MacDonald with a laugh. “We all enjoy the summer, but once the routine is underway, it’s great getting the kids to school.”
Overtime, she has watched as students start in elementary school, grow, and then graduate from high school.
“It’s like watching your own kids graduate,” she said. “We’re the first school staff these kids see in the morning and the last they see when school’s done.”
MacDonald said that many of the graduating students feel the same connection with their bus drivers.
“Sometimes we get so many gifts you’d need a dump truck.”
There are a few busses in the garage now, but they are spares and needed only if something happens to the other busses.
“Drivers are briefed on any changes to evacuation plans and insurance coverage,” said Smith. “They’re well trained if anything comes up, such as an accidental spillage of fuel.”
For more information on busses of the Chignecto Central School Board and its busses, visit www.ccrsb.ednet.ns.ca.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn
Waiting for the Bus:
Always be on time.
Never run to the bus, always walk.
Stand back from the road.
Before crossing the road always stop, look both ways, and listen for traffic.
Don’t push when getting on the bus.
If the bus doesn’t show up, do not take a ride from a stranger. Call your school for instructions.
When Riding on the Bus:
Stay in your own seat.
Place your bag on your lap and not in the aisle.
Don’t distract the driver.
Don’t yell or talk loudly.
Always listen to the bus driver.
Be kind to others.
Always keep arms and hands inside the bus.
When Getting off the Bus:
Hang on to the railing.
Don’t push other students.
Always make sure the driver can see you.
Make sure that you are at least 3 meters in front of the bus when crossing the road.
Stop and look both ways before crossing the road.