Some big changes are happening for the school buses in Dorchester District 2. Back in April, the district chose to discontinue the contract with Durham, and start running their own bus operations.
4th grader Gianna Pizzillo says, “My teacher makes it fun to learn.”
But before the kids can step into the classroom, they need to take a seat on the bus.
Bus driver Terence Peacock says, “You got to love the kids to do this job, you just can’t think you’re going to come on and just drive a bus, you got to interact with the kids.”
He has been a DD2 bus driver for 17 years and says when Durham took over the contract for bus services, his job became more challenging and stressful.
Peacock says, “We didn’t have enough drivers with Durham and they had a lot of us drivers doubling back for one, two, three routes and it was hard to do that. And a lot of the kids were getting to school late and not getting picked up on time. And I feel since we came back to the district, we’ve got the man power to where we won’t have to be doing a lot of doubling back and kids are going to get to school on time, get to home on time, and it’s going to be a lot smoother.”
Since DD2 has taken over bus operations, they have purchased 15 extra school buses and hired more bus drivers.
The district’s Director of Transportation, Steve Shope, says, “20 to 25 short when they started last year, and they kind of struggled with that throughout the rest of the year and that was the reason for a lot of the delays.”
He says they’ve hired about 40 more drivers this year, including substitutes, to make sure the routes are always covered. The district says running busing operations internally will help them become more efficient, and save about $200,000 from the school’s transportation budget.
The Transportation Department was essentially built from scratch over the summer, and school officials say they are eager to improve the busing situation in Dorchester District 2.