TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Before the sun was up, the buses were rolling out.
But some drivers had unexpected delays.
“I got to my bus and it wouldn’t crank., was too cold. So I had to drive to bus shop and get in another bus and run my route, just got back in that bus and now that bus won’t crank,” said Clint Newsom.
Extreme cold temperatures create problems for the school buses, their batteries and diesel engines. Mechanics spent Monday making sure the vehicles would crank, and checking anti freeze and other fluids. Still, the wintry blast kept at least six buses from starting and that means revised routes and other adjustments.
“Have a lot of band aid action going on, trying to get all the buses going, when they’re down, trying to cover other routes, get other drivers to come in and help out, trying to do the best that you can,” said TPSD Transportation Director Lee Stratton.
The cold weather certainly increases the workload for mechanics here at the transportation department. But they say the weather related breakdowns are expected and they are ready to do whatever it takes to get the buses on the road again.
“I’m heading out right now to jump a bus then back to the lot,” said Assistant Mechanic Bill Garner.
Although there were some weather related delays, parents were understanding.
“Parents are very patient, make some calls, trying to communicate with them and say hey we are running a little bit late today, but we are coming,” Stratton said.
And bus driver Newsom, who is also a coach at Parkway Elementary, was looking on the bright side of a frigid morning.
“Praise the Lord for heaters,” he said.
There are 73 buses in Tupelo’s fleet . Each day the buses transport about 35 hundred students to and from school.