HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Schools is hoping the 20 new school buses they ordered in May will arrive in September; they also ordered 10 more back in July, which should arrive in October or November.
It takes about 4 to 5 months for buses to arrive after being ordered and built. And with an $89,000 price tag each, these buses are big investments to the district. The price fluctuates based on any added features, like extra cargo space for an activity bus. These new buses do not come with camera systems. Once the buses arrive, cameras will be added to the interior of the buses to monitor the behavior of the driver and the kids.
After this cycle is complete, the district will have purchased 53 new county school buses since last year.
The HCS transportation department is working to make sure kids are constantly safe while riding to and from school. So part of that plan includes replacing older buses with these new purchases.
The fleet is aging. Many of the buses are over 20 years old. So while district leaders are waiting for the new buses to arrive, the focus is to maintain the current fleet.
"Each and every day they go through checkpoints on each bus to make sure that these buses are safe prior to us putting a child out there on those buses," says Jim Wright, the HCS transportation director.
Every bus driver has to check his or her bus before leaving in the morning and after coming back in the afternoon. Drivers check every detail, from the signals to tires. Wright says if anything is considered questionable during that check, that bus will not go out on the road to pick up or drop off kids. It will go to the county bus shop for a check-up and maintenance.
Every bus also has to pass consistent 30-day and annual inspections. You can tell if a bus is up to par by checking the sticker in the window. It will show when it was inspected and if it passed.