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Bus recall may impact local school districts

TOWN OF OWEGO (WBNG) — The National Traffic Safety Administration announced Thursday a recall involving more that 50,000 school buses manufactured by Thomas Built Buses. The recalls are due to inadequate padding in the seats of the bus.

“In the knee area where your knees would be the foam is not as thick so you run the risk maybe you hurt your knee or get a bruise or whatever,” said Tony Quaranta, Director of Transportation for the Owego-Apalachin Central School District.

The news hits home for some local school districts like the Owego-Apalachin Central School District. They only use these Thomas buses.

“We have 40 Thomas buses here at Owego-Apalachin the recall I understand is in the neighborhood of 50,000,” Quaranta said.

While the Owego-Apalachin Central School District maintains an entire fleet of Thomas buses, they won’t know if those buses are affected by the recall until early December. Once recall notices are sent out on December 2, that’s when officials will start checking the fleet for possible defects.

“I’ll get a list of vin numbers specifying what the recall is and then I’ll check vin numbers against our bus numbers, correlate the two and then I’ll go out and check to see if that vehicle is in fact affected by the recall,” said Cliff Halliday, head mechanic for the district.

At this point the transportation department will work with the dealer to obtain the parts needed for the repair. Quaranta said that despite the recall, students aren’t in any serious danger and if they were the buses would be taken off the road.

“Believe me the school bus industry is all about safety and the safety of the children if there was any major problem they felt was going to be an issue for the students they’d take the buses right out of service,” Quaranta said.

The Owego-Apalachin School District is not the only district in the area that may be affected, The Vestal Central School district told 12 News that they have a few Thomas Built buses in their fleet as well.

Jack Arpey

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