PERRYTON, TX (KFDA) - Perryton ISD is will be in a contract with All-Aboard School Transportation beginning this summer where they’ll take over services that had been tedious and costly for the school district before.
“We had about nine buses break down this year on extra curricular trips and that was really the impetus behind this,” said Perryton ISD Superintendent Tim Little. “And when we got into why the buses were breaking down, we realized that we just weren’t getting the maintenance done that needed to be done. And then the reason that wasn’t happening is that we were understaffed and under-equipped.”
All-Aboard School Transportation will now handle the scheduling, manage the drivers and plan bus routes for Perryton ISD.
They'll also be hiring a full-time transportation director, a dispatcher as well as fix and maintain buses going forward.
“When a bus broke down, we didn’t have the equipment we needed to fix it here in our shop so we were having to send buses to Liberal or we were having to send buses to Amarillo to get worked on rather than here,” said Little. “And of course where we’re located, it’s a big ordeal to send a bus off to Kansas to have it operated on.”
Little said the contract with All-Aboard will save the school district nearly $50,000 in maintenance.
Radios and new HD cameras will also be installed in the buses for the safety of students and bus drivers.
“If a bus breaks down and it’s out on a route, the driver is going to have to pick up a cell phone and call back and cell phone service can be a little bit spotty around here,” said Little. “And of course, if we need to reach a driver while they’re driving, they would have to pull the bus over to answer a phone call or they’d be breaking the law talking on the phone while they’re driving the bus.”
The school district also hopes the company's better training and better pay will help retain and produce quality bus drivers.
“Giving training and support to our drivers, making them better drivers,” said Little.
And keep students safer on the road.
“We have a lot of very long extracurricular trips, we’ve got trips that go four, five, six hours in one direction sometimes,” said Little. “And when a bus leaves here with a load of kids. I need to have the confidence that that bus is safe and it is going to return with those kids, and honestly that’s not something we’ve had this year. It’s something we’re going to have next year.”
All-Aboard School Transportation will begin maintenance this summer and have buses ready for the 2019-2020 school year.