MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Education is worried old school buses are a threat to children’s safety and is now working to get those buses off the roads in Horry County.
The state is giving Horry County Schools almost 40 new buses this year. Horry County Schools Transportation Director Jim Wright says, “This is probably the biggest influx of buses we’ve had in a very long time.”
State education officials say buses that are close to or more than 20 years old are a safety hazard, and prone to overheating and catching fire. Wright says he hasn’t had that problem, and adds none of the buses in Horry County are over 15 years old. Still, he say the new buses are needed. “Anytime you have a vehicle that has some age on it, there’s more maintenance work that you have to do on it and that creates, number one a money issue, and also a safety issue.”
The school system has received 9 of the 38 new buses so far. Wright says the replacements will save the county money and resources. “There’s a lot of man hours that go into maintaining older vehicles, and I think that holds back from keeping the vehicles up to standard and putting children on them.”
Though the school system is short almost 20 bus drivers right now, Wright is confident those positions will get filled by the fall. “That’s kind of a norm throughout the summer. People leave and go get other jobs. We’re getting more competition than we’re used to.” Wright doesn’t have an ETA for the rest of the buses, but says he’s glad the state is stepping up efforts to get older buses off the road. “Anytime we can get a new vehicle on the road, it makes it a smoother ride for our children, makes it a little bit quieter.”