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The wheels on the bus go 'round, 'round, 'round...

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 4th, 2013

Photo/Pat Mitchell. At 3 p.m. bus drivers start their vehicles and head for their respective pick-up points to see that their charges, the students of PCSD No. 1, get home safely.

WHEATLAND - Although the arrival of that big yellow bus hauling little sons and daughters off to school for the first time may be difficult for young parents, many seasoned ones were more than happy to see it come ambling down the road last week. It has been the symbol of education since the first horse-drawn ones were put into service in the 1830s.

Starting at $13.90/hour, Platte County School District No. 1 (PCSD1) has 30 drivers who haul about 700 students 1,400 miles per day to and from their perspective attendance centers. Doug Runyan, director of transportation for PCSD No. 1 pulled out the notebook assistant Jackie Wilson keeps of trips, statistics, rosters, etc.

"For the 2012-'13 school year, our routes totaled 255,000 miles, field trips added up to 30,000 miles and activities to 70,000 miles," Runyan said. "The cost of route and activity trips (fuel and drivers) as well as buses and related equipment is 100 percent reimbursed by the State of Wyoming. Some field trips, however, are not."

Runyan and Wilson as well as mechanics Curtis Culver and Roger Chesser are all certified to drive.

There are also eight activity/field trip buses. The starting pay is $12 per hour for every hour they are on duty; some of that time is waiting time.

"When I first started 34 years ago, we had two activity buses that were gone on Fridays and Saturdays," Runyan said. "Now we have eight buses and need six drivers (short three right now) who can be gone any time, day or night."

Fridays are bad days when, between the high school and middle school, as many as six teams could be in need of transportation and that's usually when the elementary wants to go on a field trip. 

"Why do I do this?" said Morris Stille, a 14-year veteran of both route and activity driving, said with a grin. "Well, for the money, late hours and fast food, of course!" then added, "And I love the kids."

For the complete article see the 09-04-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-04-2013 paper.

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