New SC buses roll out, many more still needed - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

New SC buses roll out, many more still needed

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Students headed out to the bus stop may be boarding one of the nearly 350 new buses in the state's fleet as the new additions continue to be delivered statewide.

According to officials with the Department of Education, nearly 200 of the 342 new buses have been delivered, and they expect all of them to make it to their new districts by the first week in February.

Officials call the new buses a 'shot in the arm' because the last significant purchase for the state fleet was four years ago. From upgraded safety features and air conditioning to increased fuel efficiency, Department of Education Director of Maintenance Mike Bullman says there's no comparing the old buses to the new.

"It means reliability," said Bullman. "It means the fact that education starts with a bus ride, and we can't educate students without getting them to school."

The new buses replace buses from 1984 through 1987 and some in 1988, which amounts to one-third of the special needs fleet. "We've had some tough economic times so these are the first buses we've replaced since 2008," said Fritz Mason, Public Information Coordinator for the Department of Education. Because of the lack of funding, that also means state legislation from 2007 that says, ‘the State Board of Education shall implement a school bus replacement cycle to replace approximately one-fifteenth of the fleet each year, resulting in a complete replacement of the fleet every fifteen years' has been overlooked.

"We need more buses," said Mason. "The older buses have to be replaced [and] we're trying to phase out those buses as quickly as we possibly can."

Mason says the new buses helped phase out 7 percent of the outdated buses, but adds more than two-third's of the state's 5,630 buses (including spares) date back to before 1998.

State Superintendent Dr. Mick Zais has requested 34 million dollars for the coming year to continue phasing out old buses. "Really it's that replacement cycle that we need," said Bullman. "It allows us to manage the system and to project and to not spend needless funds on buses that we'd be otherwise replacing."

While the Department of Education waits to see if the legislature comes through, they say they're still embracing the little bit of new they have now. "It feels great," said Bullman. "It means so much to have the new buses. It means so much to the students, the parents, and to the school administrators… it's just a real big plus."

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • Lawyer: Trump needs informant info before Mueller interview

    Lawyer: Trump needs informant info before Mueller interview

    Sunday, May 27 2018 11:05 AM EDT2018-05-27 15:05:32 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-05-27 17:46:40 GMT
    President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an interview (Source:CNN)President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an interview (Source:CNN)

    President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an...

    More >>

    President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president wants details on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling before deciding on an interview with the special counsel.

    More >>
  • Budget battle brews as Trump threatens another shutdown

    Budget battle brews as Trump threatens another shutdown

    Sunday, May 27 2018 8:04 AM EDT2018-05-27 12:04:06 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-05-27 17:46:28 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File). FILE - In this March 30, 2017, file photo, the Capitol Dome is seen at dawn in Washington. The Senate has kicked off its annual attempt to pass government funding bills. Success is hardly assured, but President Don...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File). FILE - In this March 30, 2017, file photo, the Capitol Dome is seen at dawn in Washington. The Senate has kicked off its annual attempt to pass government funding bills. Success is hardly assured, but President Don...

    President Donald Trump has warned Congress that he'll never sign another trillion dollar plus government-wide spending bill like the one he did in March.

    More >>

    President Donald Trump has warned Congress that he'll never sign another trillion dollar plus government-wide spending bill like the one he did in March.

    More >>
  • More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

    More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-05-26 13:33:35 GMT
    Sunday, May 27 2018 1:46 PM EDT2018-05-27 17:46:23 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File). FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through the courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File). FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through the courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the...

    A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and that'll continue, no matter what the Supreme Court decides in the case of a baker who wouldn't create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    More >>

    A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and that'll continue, no matter what the Supreme Court decides in the case of a baker who wouldn't create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly