S.C lawmakers concerned about aging school buses

S.C lawmakers concerned about aging school buses

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - "I wonder how many people drive a car for 15-20-15 years because that's the issue we have with school buses here in Aiken County and across the state of South Carolina," said Rep. Bill Taylor of Aiken.

Rep. Taylor says that now is the time for South Carolina to make some changes and invest in the safety of children and their road to education. More than 60% of the buses in Aiken county are over 15 years old.
"That means that kids today are riding on the same school buses that their parents did and possibly their grandparents," said Rep. Taylor.

Just across the state line,  Richmond County replaces buses after ten years. Columbia County's oldest buses are from 2002.

Representatives from all 3 districts say that buses are a big part of the education system because if students can't make it to the classroom, then they can't read the lesson plans. Both Richmond and Columbia Counties have their bus fleets maintained and inspected every 20 days. Columbia county replaces part of its fleet with new buses  every year.

"Its just important to keep up with it so that you can stay on schedule. Parents depend on buses arriving at a certain time morning and afternoon," said Shirley Doolittle, the Asst. Director of Transportation of Columbia County School District.

And in Richmond county, safety is key,
 "We don't want a bus on the road that's not 100% safe," said Dewayne Porter, the Senior Director of Transportation Richmond County School District.

On cold days like today, the weather may affect the whats under the hood.

"We had our mechanic staff come in an hour early this morning and we can remotely log into a system that we have here and it will tell us every bus's battery percentage," said Porter.

But legislators are fighting to make sure equipment and maintenance are a higher priority in South Carolina.

And when asked what it will take, Rep. Bill Taylor answered,

Copyright 2017 WFXG. All rights reserved.