Category Archives: Buses

School Buses

School Bus

School Buses
The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has an aging fleet of roughly 1,000 school buses. With E-SPLOST V monies, DCSD plans on spending about $30 million replacing the oldest school buses.
Earlier this month the board approved the purchase of 120 buses at a cost not to exceed $10 million. The purchase includes:

  • Ninety-two (92) Type-C 72-Passenger School buses at $77,089 each
  • Twenty-five (25) Type-C 48-Passengers with Air Condition and Wheelchair Lift at $90,175 each
  • Three (3) 82-Passenger Type-D Transit School buses at $107,081 each

I asked Mr. Joshua Williams to tell us about the features that are requested and/or required on new school buses we purchase.

DeKalb Joshua Williams

Joshua Williams
Chief Operating Officer, DeKalb County School District

School buses are purchased similar to purchasing an automobile. There is a base price and options are added in accordance with school system requirements. DeKalb County School District orders buses with the follow-ing options/enhancements and come installed as part of the delivered vehicle:

1. 240 AMP Alternator 13. Air Dryer
(Higher Capacity) 14 12 Volt access block
2. Vandal Locks on all Doors 15. Air Conditioner (Special Need Only)
3. White Painted Roof 16. Driver’s Dome Lighting
4. Air operated Crossing Arm 17. Noise Reduction Package
5. Air ride Drivers Seat 18. 5-Year 100,000 miles Bumper to Bumper Warranty w/Tow
6. Engine Exhaust Brake 19. 100 Gallon Fuel Tank
7. Battery Cut off Switch 20. Air Disc Brakes
8. Tinted Windows 21. 12 Volt Power Port
9. All Buses Keyed Alike 22. Integrated Child Seat 3-point (Special Needs Only)
10. Mud Flaps Front and Rear 23. Entrance Door 3 Position Switch
11. Higher Rated Tires 24. Pass Through Luggage Compartment (Transit Only)
12. Spare Tire and Wheel 25. Engine Telemetrics

Additionally, we use a third party installer for two components after the school buses are delivered:

  • Radio
  • Global Position System (GPS)


Over-Crowded Buses

13 percent of the total 1,485 school bus runs at DeKalb Schools are over-crowded.

Stan Jester
Board Of Education
District 1

The DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) Transportation Department transports approximately 60,000 students daily. As of October 11, 2015, the department has a bus driver allotment of 878 drivers of which 822 positions are “actively” engaged in providing daily bus transportation support for 803 routes. The District has a total school bus fleet of 1,009 school buses with an average age of 10.1 years. The District maintains a minimum of 950 schools buses, to include 100 spares, to ensure bus availability to support the District’s daily transportation operations. The DeKalb County School District follows the industry standard of three students per seat for grades K-5 and two students per seat for grades 6-12.
At the Board of Education meeting this month, many bus drivers showed up for public comments to explain some concerns they have. As reported by Marlon A. Walker in the AJC, “Sometimes, bus driver Kim Davis says, the school buses in DeKalb County are so full of students that some are forced to stand the whole way to school.”
Cathy Douglas, president of the Bus Advisory Council, said she believed the district was down about 70 bus drivers and did not have the buses needed to handle every route. “Children are late every day because of no drivers,” she said. “On some buses, there are as many as 80 students on 64-passenger buses. If a bus breaks down, we’re in trouble.”
The school district’s analysis and response last week to over-crowded buses:

Subject: Strategic Overview to Address Over-Crowded Buses
By: Superintendent Stephen Green

Analysis/ Findings
The Transportation Department conducted a capacity/utilization analysis of all bus routes and identified bus runs over capacity by one or more students. Based upon this internal analysis, approximately 13 percent of the total 1,485 school bus runs are over-crowded at this time. As of October 11, 2015, there are 196 bus runs identified as being over-crowded. However, this does not imply that all over-crowded school bus runs have students standing while the bus is in motion. The following prioritization strategy is being utilized to address these issues in the short-term:

  • Priority #1: More than 16 students over bus capacity
  • Priority #2: Between 6 and 15 students over bus capacity
  • Priority #3: Less than 6 students over bus capacity

Short-Term Strategy
The District’s short-term strategy focuses on resolving all over-crowded runs no later than October 23, 2015. The following key actions will be taken over the next several days:

  • Continue to validate ridership in collaboration with schools and Transportation staff
  • Balance loads and reassign students to new bus runs as appropriate
  • Where load balancing is not feasible, additional drivers and/or double runs will be utilized
  • Partner with school bus transportation service vendors as a supplemental resource to address overcrowding
  • Effectively communicate student route changes to all impacted stakeholders prior to implementation

Long-Term Strategy
The District will continue to further develop a comprehensive long term strategy (3 to 5 years) to balance student ridership across the District. This long term strategy will consider the following key areas as we seek to build additional capacity to ensure scalability and accommodate future growth:

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of the Transportation management structure and operations to enhance the District’s school bus service delivery
  • Significantly reduce the annual employee turnover rate by hiring and retaining a larger pool of highly qualified school bus drivers and monitors
  • Improve internal and external communications with all stakeholders
  • Purchase additional buses in accordance with the District’s school bus replacement cycle
  • Determine annual funding requirements for long term sustainability