FAIRBORN — The first day of classes is two weeks away and the Fairborn City Schools transportation department is sure their buses are ready to go after passing the state inspection on the first try.
Annually, at the end of July, every bus is inspected, inside and out, by two state inspectors who go over them with a fine-toothed comb. They recently spent two and a half days going over the 56 in-route and six sub buses in the Fairborn fleet, looking at every seat, bolt, light, alarm, window, door, exhaust system, wheel and more.
“We didn’t have any buses that failed. They all passed with flying colors,” said Transportation Supervisor Charlotte Tingelstad, who has been the “bus lady” for 16 years. “We were very excited. “We have two great mechanics who keep them running. They have done a lot to get them ready.”
The Ohio State Highway Patrol has someone inspect the buses inside and out on a regular basis. There are also three periodic spot inspections throughout the year when 10-12 buses are inspected at a time. If a bus fails, it is not to be used until repairs are completed.
According to Tingelstad, buses fail for a number of reasons, but body work is a big one. This can include anything from a new step well to high and low spots in the floor caused by water on kids’ shoes which means replacing the entire floor. These are both expensive and time-consuming repairs. Bus mechanics, Josh Brown and Tony Riegle, stay on top of these things starting before the last day of school.
“The good thing is that Tony looks for those things. At the end of the school year he goes through all the buses and makes notes about what needs to get done before inspections, from the right amount of tread on all the tires to wear and tear on the seat cushions,” Tingelstad said. “Tony and Josh are two mechanics who really enjoy their work and are good at what they do. If we didn’t have them working so hard during the summer we wouldn’t make it through the nine school months.”
The transportation department also hires 11 bus drivers during the summer to wash and sterilize all the buses, inside and out. It takes about eight weeks to get them all done.
“We have a lot of people here who are very devoted to the welfare and safety of the kids,” said Tingelstad.
The district is scheduled to receive five new buses next week, one handicapped and four standard. They will go through inspections Monday morning and should be delivered to the Fairborn bus garage on Tuesday.
“The past few years we have tried to replace four or five buses per year,” said Ed Gibbons, Business Affairs Director. “We hope to do our best to stay on that schedule.”
For more information regarding FCS busing, call the Transportation department at 878-1772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda Crowe is editor of the Fairborn Daily Herald covering Fairborn, Yellow Springs, Enon and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Contact her by phone at 878-3993 ext. 134 or on Twitter @FairbornHerald.