I kicked off Day One APS at the district’s Lakewood Bus Depot with our drivers, mechanics, supervisors and plenty of doughnuts, (I know, bad for you – but they are just so yummy). Things were humming as the mechanics checked and prepped the buses and supervisors checked-in drivers. Board of Education members Leslie Grant, Eshe’ Collins, Matt Westmoreland and Chair, Courtney English met up first with our drivers over at the Metropolitan station and then joined Board Member Jason Esteves and I later at Lakewood. I was so happy that they were on hand to help get the day started. Our hardworking transportation team transports 22,000 students, 25,000 miles everyday over 368 bus routes using 400 buses.
After greeting all of our employees over the intercom system, it was time to hit the road.
You may have heard that we executed a “Bus Stop Arm Camera” agreement with the City of Atlanta and American Traffic Solutions that placed stop arm cameras on high risk area APS buses. These cameras will capture any vehicles that violate bus passing laws according to Senate Bill #57 and allow the approved vendor to issue traffic violations to drivers who illegally pass our buses. And we also started installing on-board video surveillance systems on every school bus over the summer. I rode bus #548 to D.H. Stanton Elementary School which is one of our buses equipped with the bus stop arm camera. My driver, Ms. Norvella Simms, is a former crossing guard and our route was an A and B route – which means it picks up once and drops off at a school, then does the route again.
My fellow riders were a little shy at first, but opened up once we got on the road. Talk about some cute kids! They were all so excited in their sharp uniforms and new backpacks. Our ride was short and we arrived on time and Day One ready.
At the end of today, Pre-K and Kindergarten students will have back pack tags attached to their backpacks in an effort to ensure they board the correct bus each day. Next stop, D.H. Stanton Elementary!