Several Livingston Parish students will enjoy that “new car smell” on their way to and from their home and school when classes begin in a couple of weeks. That’s because the district is rolling out 22 new buses as part of its effort to upgrade its fleet and replace all the buses lost during the 2016 flood.
“We instituted a system-wide upgrade plan in 2015 that would allow us to add 10 to 12 new busses to our fleet each year to ensure that we had the safest, most efficient buses on the road for our drivers and students. But that plan had to be escalated somewhat after the flood in 2016, when we lost more than 70 buses,” Transportation Supervisor Joshua Day said.
“Since that time, we’ve had to lease several buses in addition to what we could purchase,” he said. “I’m glad to say that this year’s purchase allows us to do away with all flood-related leases, and we can return to our normal replacement schedule after this year.”
Day said a new full-length bus costs approximately $80,000. He noted that not all the buses purchased after the 2016 flood were not new, but he said the annual replacement plan calls for new bus purchases. He said 25 years is considered the maximum life span for a school bus.
Day said the new buses were purchased from Kent Mitchell Bus-RV Sales in Hammond. They are equipped with the latest safety features and three-eye cameras, which records images at the entrance, in the front section and in the back. Twenty of the new buses are regular size and two are smaller models, specially equipped for special needs students.
Day said approximately 16,000 of the parish’s 26,000 students ride buses to and from school. The district anticipates using more than 250 regular buses this school year to manage the daily routes. Most buses run more than one route each morning and afternoon. Several smaller buses will be utilized to transport special needs students. Those routes can often vary, he said.