By Linda Dillman
As the Canal Winchester Local Schools bus fleet ages, administrators are preparing to replace a trio of vehicles.
Operations and Transportation Director Mike Bruning said all of the buses being replaced are ones that would be the most expensive to maintain.
Each new 77-passenger vehicle is projected to cost Canal Winchester $77,967.
“Our estimates were that, over the next three years, the maintenance costs of three being replaced would equal the cost of one new bus,” said Bruning. “These buses are going to replace ones already in the fleet. Disposal is presently in negotiations. The buses might be traded in to the dealership who is selling us these buses, or we might have a third-party interested.”
The district does not have a formal rotation process for buses, which are replaced on an as-needed basis. Bruning said the bus fleet averages approximately 525,000 road miles per school year.
“We have 42 buses that we run daily. This includes regular, special needs and vocational school routes,” said Bruning. “As for our oldest buses, we have two from 1995 that are used only as spares. These are two of the three buses being replaced. The new buses will be used on routes and other buses will be retired to become spares.”
Bruning said last year, the district spent just over $270,000 on vehicle maintenance, repairs and supplies and $161,000 was spent on fuel.
“Last year $966,099 was spent on the salary and benefits for bus drivers and aides,” said Bruning.
Like any other form of transportation, costs continue to climb upward. Treasurer Joyce Boyer said, in 2002 the cost for a 72-passenger bus was $55,731 and rose to $59,950 four years later. During the same time frame, an 84-passenger bus cost $59,719 and jumped to $64,985 in 2006.
The Canal Winchester Board of Education approved the purchase of the vehicles during its February meeting and expects to take possession of the buses in 60 days or less.