Saturday, September 20, 2008

contract driver

A couple of weeks ago I got a 50% raise. Mind you 50% of nothing is not much but in this case it actually is something.
My route went over 30 hrs. so I am now intitle to health,dental,vision,life,disablity, insurance as well as 24 paid holidays,sick and personal days off. That is over a month of paid working days off in my  9 month work year.
Since I had no health ins. at my age this is really quite a big thing. Although I don't work in the summer the benifits are in force in the summer.
That along with getting an A.C. bus within a few week period was quite overwhelming for this semi retired guy. Dad

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A.C. Bus

 Well it is mid Sept. in Arizona. The weather has modified and we are once again able to put away suicidal thoughts and remember why we live in this southern desert. Some of my students have even started wearing sweater to school in the morning.
Monday I went in to get my bus keys and the dispatcher gave me a new set of keys and told me my bus was parked in a different place. I was almost afraid to think what this meant. I boldly went out to see if I had been promoted or demoted. It soon became apparent that I was parked in the newer air conditioned section. My bus was last years model with only 17,000 miles on it and a big white A.C. unit on top. I had arrived.
I thought the receiving of an A.C. bus should have been accompanied by a little more fanfare. A group of bus driver forming a path waving their brake sticks over you or some store bought sheet cake or the like. As I thought through that a little more it occurred to me that some of those drivers would have been driving for years without having an A.C. bus and I have only been driving for months so they may be trying to hit me with their brake sticks rather than hail me.
I put on my sun glasses turned on the A.C. and drove out of the yard trying not to make eye contact with anyone.
I couldn't wait to see the reaction of my students. I had told them we had been promised a new bus because of this high mileage route. I did not tell them it was going to be an A.C. bus. Most were properly impressed with the newer style bus and they were really impressed as they noticed the cold air coming out of the holes in the ceiling.
After I got them all on board I asked them what they thought. I got a resounding approval. I then said there is only one problem that I see with this bus. As they could see and feel there was cold air leaking out of the holes in the ceiling and I would try to have that fixed by the afternoon run. That brought a resounding disapproval.
I wonder if I will miss seeing their red sweaty faces in the passanger mirror..........

Monday, September 1, 2008

School Bus on Fire----sort of

My bus has sort of been on fire ever since school started on the 10th. It has been over 100 degrees each day and high humidity. I am driving 95 miles a day now and I have come home each day dehydrated and exhausted.
This Wednesday I was on my first afternoon run with just eight students still on board when I noticed in one of the seven mirrors that I can look backwards in that brown smoke was coming up from the engine outside the rear window.
Seeking an expert second opinion I turned to the nearest student and asked if he saw the smoke. He did. That was good enough for me. I put the air park brake on,turned off the engine, and said "Everyone out." They didn't have to be told twice. They were out and orderly went  down the sidewalk 200 ft. and stood in a group. They had had evacuation training. I have not yet.
At this point I went on the dispatch radio gave my location and announced that I had evacuated my bus because of smoke coming out of the engine and I was now leaving. I was supposed to throw the mic out the drivers window so I could continue talking to dispatch without reboarding the bus but I forgot that part.
I went now to my cell phone to call dispatch. Connie calmly asked me if I had put the reflectors out in front and behind the bus. Hadn't got to that either. I'm thinking if the bus catches on fire I'm sure people will not run into it.
Soon the director of transportation arrives in a van. Next the head mechanic arrives in a truck and within 15 minutes a replacement bus had arrived for me to continue on with my route.
It turns out that the fan had come off the radiatior and the smoke and mist was just the cooling system blowing off steam and smoke.
Just another day in the life of a school bus driver.  Mr. B...