New buses for Shelby County students

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 31, 2008

By DAISY MOON / Staff Reporter

Shelby County students are climbing aboard new school buses thanks to a $6 million investment of state education funds.

Shelby County Schools was able to replace some 92 buses through the Alabama Fleet Renewal Program funded through the State Department of Education.

School system spokeswoman Cindy Warner said the state usually retires buses that are more than ten years old.

Among the new buses are 79 72-passenger buses, three 19-passenger buses and ten wheelchair accessible buses for special-needs students.

The vehicles offer “outstanding” new features over the older buses, according to Bucky Law of Transportation South in Pelham, the company that sold the buses.

Among the highlights is an improved air suspension, allowing passengers a more comfortable ride and better visibility.

“You can really, really see out of these buses,” Law said.

At least one safety feature remains absent – seat belts.

According to Warner, that may change in the near future.

“The state is participating in a study to see if Alabama buses should provide seat belts,” Warner said.

The State Department of Education estimates that more than 92 percent of Alabama buses are less than ten years old.

The retired school buses will be sold at auction April 9