Recent legislation requires all school buses in California to be up to environmental and safety codes by 2018, or be taken out of service, according to Cailfornia Watch.
Buses manufactured before 1990 can emit up to six times more pollutants than newer buses, a California Watch study shows. Children riding old buses are exposed to those pollutants unless the buses have been equipped with filters that can cost about $18,000.
Luckily for our local students, the Soquel Union Elementary School District is ahead of the California curve when it comes to its bus fleet.
The district, which only uses bus transportation for its special education students, owns four buses, one of which is kept on reserve in case of mechanical failure.
The three buses that are in service daily are a 2008, 2006 and 1998 model, according to Supervisor of Maintenance and Operations Paul Rucker. The back-up bus is a 1990 — just making the cut for environmental acceptability.
"What we did in the past was get everything up to code," Rucker said.
The three buses used daily were all bought new. Rucker said the school district is hoping to replace the 1990 back-up with a brand new bus in the coming years, which would then transition the 1998 to the back-up role. But such a purchase is subject to future budgeting.
The buses used by the district are smaller models than the standard size because they only service the special education students. Rucker said they run between $60,000 and $70,000 brand new.
In addition to adhering to environmental standards, new buses also come equipped with seat belts and more emergency exits.
Are you happy to hear that our school district is up to code? Nice to have good news for a change, right? Tell us in the comments!