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News


the afternoon line-up, our drivers usually wait elsewhere, not on school grounds.” “Common sense applies,” added an STN


reader, who wished to remain anonymous in this month’s survey. “It’s a judgement call. If it’s 20 below, we let our drivers idle their buses. Te State Department of Education states that there are exceptions to the idling rule, and idling may be permitted for certain purposes, one of which is to maintain an ap- propriate temperature for passenger comfort.” Some districts may let buses idle in the afternoon to maintain the “appropriate temperature for passenger comfort,” but most insist drivers shut the engine down. Te cabin temperature drops until the buses can be started again to depart school. Tere are some schools who take the morning bus routes into consideration to keep students safe and warm. At Dryden Central School in the Finger-


lakes Region of New York state, Transpor- tation Supervisor Roxanne Saville-Hilliard said middle and high school students are picked up in groups during a winter weather advisory. “We can’t do that for the elemen- tary students, because we don’t want them walking down snowy roads,” she added. “We pick them up at their houses, but the older kids know where to go and the bus waits for them there.” Massachusetts requires no unnecessary idling for all buses and personal motor vehicles within 100 feet of school grounds. When the outdoor temperature falls below 35 degrees or rises more than 80 degrees, school buses can idle for no more than three minutes in any 15-minute period to operate climate controls when waiting to load or unload passengers. “We have contractors that I oversee,


and we use vans for pre-school runs,” said Joy Winnie, director of transportation for Northampton Public School north of Springfield. “Te six vans and buses in my fleet are wheelchairs, and we have students who are sensitive to temperature. I try to keep the number of wheelchairs on each bus to a minimum, and try to arrange it so that they are the last on and first off.” 


Visit www.stnonline.com/go/a4 for a comprehensive list of school bus idling regulations by state. Also this month,


visit our Web Exclusives section for how distsricts using biodiesel are beating the cold.


24 School Transportation News • OCTOBER 2017


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