(WBNG) – School bus drivers in our area are taking extra precautions to make sure students are warm and safe during this week’s freezing temperatures.
The cold weather cannot only harm students and staff, but also the buses they use for transportation.
“We do see in the extremely cold temperatures, we’ve had doors that have not operated, they’ve frozen up and the air tanks don’t build pressure,” said Lisa Bennett, transportation coordinator for Union-Endicott School District.
Bus drivers say super low temperatures can effect doors, brakes and can even affect the fuel.
“The wind if it’s hitting the them constantly, it makes it much harder to start it with the diesel. Fuel clogs up, you know that kind of thing so we could run into that problem,” said the transportation director for the Johnson City School District, Louis Castellucci. “It’s a problem that we don’t see at all.”
Local school districts say it’s vital to prepare their buses ahead of a dangerously chilly day.
“The buses are probably 10 degrees colder than they are outside. So we make an effort to start the buses earlier and make sure they’re running,” said Bennett.
The Johnson City School District keeps its buses in garages to make it easier to keep warm, while Union Endicott uses other ways to combat the cold.
“They all get plugged in at night to enable them to start in the morning, getting them heated up so that when the kids get on they are at a reasonable temperature,” said Bennett.
School officials say during the bitter cold days, they plan to pick up as many kids as possible.
“We are just gonna get them. We are going to pick them up. It doesn’t matter if it’s your bus or not. Somebody sees somebody, we are going to say ‘Get them on that bus, get them off that corner’. Especially with that wind chill we have coming tomorrow”, said Castellucci.
“Our district has a lot of walkers. We have over 700 students in this district that are not eligible for transportation. Unfortunately, we don’t have the equipment or the staff to pick up all 700 students in the bitterly cold weather, but we do try to as we see students that may be walking, if we have room on the buses, we will stop and put them on. Especially with temperatures that we are going to have today and tomorrow,” said Bennett.
Both districts say whether or not school is in session, they will be prepared to keep their students safe.
“It’s critical. That’s what we are all about in transportation is student safety,” said Bennett.
Transportation officials urge students to be at their bus stop on time especially in freezing cold weather.
This will keep the routes on time and prevent other children from staying outside longer than they should.
They also encourage students to make sure they are bundled up properly.