Transportation is Ready to Roll

Transportation is Ready to Roll
Posted on 08/18/2022

Mexico Public Schools’ Transportation is Ready to Roll
By:  Christine Harper

            In a week, approximately 555,000 students across Missouri will step on a school bus for the first day of school.  On August 24th, 2022 the Mexico Public Schools’ buses will hit the road for another school year.  That is the first day of school, and our district will transport approximately 1100 students daily.  It can be a tough job, but our drivers strive to provide a safe and comfortable journey every day.

            School bus drivers have an important job in safely getting kids to school every day.  They go through a rigorous training program before they ever take the wheel.  We are fortunate at MPS that we have 2 employees in the district who are trained to train the drivers.  The program teaches the drivers to know every aspect of their bus, the laws around driving a bus, and navigating that big yellow machine in tight spaces.

            So, what are some things that you and I can do to help make their jobs a little easier?  I sat down with MPS Transportation Director, Curt Jackson, and asked him that question.  Here is the list he gave me:

            First, there is a driver and approximately 55-60 students on any given bus at one time.  That driver’s main responsibility is to safely transport students, so their focus is on the road.  That means 55-60 students have to know how to be safe on the bus without being told to.  For safety reasons, transportation asks that kids stay seated in their assigned seats facing forward and keeping their hands to themselves.  They also ask that kids not yell or say anything that could escalate into an unsafe situation. Parents/Guardians should discuss bus conduct and safety rules with their children. Bus drivers, students, parents and school personnel all share a responsibility to ensure that children get to and from school safely every day.  Make sure your child knows the safest route to the bus stop and that they arrive 5 minutes before pickup time. If children will be unaccompanied when they get off the bus in the afternoon, teach them the safest route home.  Stress that they should go directly home, or to their regular afternoon location, and check in with you or their other caregiver before going anywhere else.  BE RESPECTFUL, BE RESPONSIBLE and BE SAFE.

            Second, my fellow drivers, we need to know the rules of the road when it comes to that big yellow bus.  One of the confusing laws is when to stop or not stop when a bus is stopped.  According to the Missouri Highway Patrol:  When a school bus stops to load or unload school children, the driver activates the mechanical and electrical signaling devices to notify other drivers of an impending stop. Amber warning lights will flash 500 feet before the bus comes to a designated stop. When the school bus is stopped, the alternate flashing red lights and the stop signal arm are activated. Oncoming and following traffic must stop before they reach the bus when these signals are activated. On all undivided highways (without a median), traffic in both directions must stop at least 20 feet from a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing. You must not pass the bus until the lights are turned off or the bus starts moving. This rule does not apply if the bus is on the opposite roadway of a divided highway.

            Third, unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to ride a bus.  To be eligible, you have to live more than a mile from your school.  If you live less than a mile AND there is room on the bus, you can pay for transportation.

            When it comes to transporting kids to school, it really does take all of us doing our part to help our bus drivers.  We appreciate what our drivers do on a daily basis of transporting almost half of our student population to and from school every day!