Yuma Sun

Yuma schools receive $785K for safer buses

District One and Yuhsd students to benefit within two years

- BY SISKO J. STARGAZER Sun STAFF WRITER Sisko J. Stargazer can be reached at 928-539-6849 or sstargazer@yumasun.com.

As the world turns, school buses continue to modernize. With the help of a $785,000 grant from A for Arizona’s Arizona Transporta­tion Modernizat­ion Grant Program, the Yuma Schools Transporta­tion Consortium (YSTC) will be enhancing bus safety with the installati­on of cameras, turn-by-turn navigation systems and location monitoring of students while on YSTC buses.

These additions will provide security benefits that will solve problems YSTC buses have been facing. A for Arizona published in its awardee snapshot that incidents of misconduct and bullying on school buses are on the rise, participat­ing schools have been unable to accurately account for students as they go to and from school, and bus drivers have been distracted by using an antiquated paper route system.

According to the press release from District One, the grant will help address these problem head on. Should an accident or a discipline case arise on a bus, cameras can provide photograph­ic evidence. Location tracking can also reduce parent stress by allowing them to quickly verify the location of buses their children are riding or the children’s entry and exit times. GPS and turn-by-turn navigation systems will also increase driving safety and decrease driver stress, which may help YSTC’S stated goal of increasing bus driver retention and driver satisfacti­on.

The grant was part of the second round of the Arizona Transporta­tion Modernizat­ion Program. A for Arizona announced that for the round, a total of $6.9 million in grant awards will fund 15 proposals throughout the state. Yuma County had two recipients. YTSC received $785,000 and the Boys and Girls Club of the Valley – Yuma Chapter received $130,000 for a 14-passenger minibus.

“As a recipient of this grant cycle, the YSTC aims to improve bus-rider safety, the bus-driver experience and parents’ satisfacti­on with the transporta­tion program,” wrote District One. “Within two years when the grant is completed, all YSTC buses will be equipped with these safety improvemen­ts.”

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