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Fine-tuning busing operations

Omaha Public Schools, contractor finalize plans
Posted at 12:17 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 13:52:56-04

While students head back to class at Wilson Focus Elementary School Thursday, district officials and its partners spent the morning observing busing operations.

A chorus of greetings waited for students as they departed their busses. With each arrival, Principal Bret Anderson checked his list as the district and its bus operator observed.

The last load pulled up slightly behind schedule but still not late. 

There was only one like 10 [minutes until 8 a.m.]  and that's still early but they did awesome, Anderson said.

It looked pretty good, said David Prince, vice-president of operations for Student Transportation of America.

"There's some things we need to work on to make sure we get students on time for breakfast but just some minor alterations but we're pretty happy with the way the first day went," he said.

The minor hiccups came from doing a mandatory sweep through, called a child check - making sure no student remains on the bus after being dropped off.

Some drivers pulled up a bit to allow space for the others before doing a child check, but STA reminded drivers to not move their bus until all the seats have been checked.

"Once the students get off the bus, the driver has to go back and press a button [in the back of the bus] and on the way forward they have to check and make sure no students are asleep or under the seats," Prince said.

The bus company put the safeguards in place to prevent episodes seen in recent years when kids inadvertently were left on board.

Thursday's dry run looked promising, but the district and STA say they plan to make sure the 300-something bus routes are ready to go before the rest of the schools resume for fall semester which is Aug. 15.