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READY TO ROLL: Douglas school buses preparing to carry 15,000 students daily
by Bill Baldowski
July 25, 2014 08:31 AM | 1823 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Bill Baldowski<br>Douglas County School System Transportation Department Fleet Assistant Tonya Mayo, and her son, school bus technician Ryan Mayo, check in new school bus tires.
Staff / Bill Baldowski
Douglas County School System Transportation Department Fleet Assistant Tonya Mayo, and her son, school bus technician Ryan Mayo, check in new school bus tires.
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Staff / Bill Baldowski<br>Tim Sewell, a lead mechanic with the Douglas County School System Transportation Department, checks the camera on the safety arm of a school bus.
Staff / Bill Baldowski
Tim Sewell, a lead mechanic with the Douglas County School System Transportation Department, checks the camera on the safety arm of a school bus.
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Staff / Bill Baldowski<br>Douglas County School System Transportation Department Lead Mechanic Eddie Wheeler checks school bus overhaul details as the buses are made ready for school to begin Aug, 6.
Staff / Bill Baldowski
Douglas County School System Transportation Department Lead Mechanic Eddie Wheeler checks school bus overhaul details as the buses are made ready for school to begin Aug, 6.
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Staff / Bill Baldowski<br>Douglas County School System Transportation Department Fleet Director Charlie Brewer goes through the parts department inventory to make sure any part that is needed is readily available.
Staff / Bill Baldowski
Douglas County School System Transportation Department Fleet Director Charlie Brewer goes through the parts department inventory to make sure any part that is needed is readily available.
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On the calendar in the office of Douglas County School System Transportation Department Fleet Manager Charlie Brewer, the date of Aug. 6 is circled.

It is the first day of the upcoming school year, and marks Brewer’s 23rd annual “first day” event, as he calls it, with the system’s transportation department.

Despite his experience, he said a few unexpected situations develop on the first day of school that his staff must attend to, such as school buses failing to start.

“However, we usually are able to rectify these promptly,” Brewer said.

However, the pressure of getting students safely to and from school and extracurricular activities may be a bit less stressful this year due to Brewer’s number of veteran returning drivers.

“Approximately 85 percent of our drivers are coming back this year and, thus far, we have only seven new drivers,” he said.

In total, Douglas County has about 300 drivers, bus monitors and substitute drivers ready to board buses this year.

More than 15,000 of the county’s about 25,000 public school students this year will be riding the bus to and from school on more than 208 bus routes, Brewer said.

Douglas County transportation department officials begin a complete inspection and overhaul of its buses within days of the close of each regular school year.

“Then, in July, we give each bus a close safety inspection as we have about 104 items on a check off list to visually inspect on each bus,” Brewer said.

Many of the school buses are now armed with stop arm safety monitor cameras, which photograph the license plate of vehicles that illegally pass a stopped school bus as students board or exit the bus.

Brewer said one of the most misunderstood state laws regarding school buses is how motorists should react to a bus loading students on a divided road.

He said if no median exists between each side of a road, vehicles traveling in either direction must stop when the bus picks up or lets students off.

However, if the divided road has a median, motorists approaching the bus from the front on the opposite side of the median do not have to stop while those behind the bus do, Brewer said.

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