Buses to undergo second inspection | NevadaAppeal.com

Buses to undergo second inspection

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Carson City School District Bus Driver Larry Bruntz does a safety check on his bus before gassing up.

Four buses have been removed from Carson City School District’s fleet and more are being carefully watched for any structural damages.

Inspections of the buses began in October when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised districts nationwide to inspect Carpenter school buses built in Mitchell, Ind.

The buses fell under scrutiny in March when an 83-passenger Carpenter school bus rolled over, causing the roof to collapse to the seat level. Inspection in the Florida crash revealed numerous broken and defective welds in the roof and pillar structure.

Seventeen of Carson City’s 43 school buses fell into that category and four were determined to be damaged structurally.

Those buses were replaced by older buses that had been taken out of operation.

Eight more buses, which are used for daily routes, passed the first inspection but must pass a second inspection in April to remain in use.

Five others are used only to transport students on field trips around town and must also pass the second inspection.

Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the school district, will discuss the situation with members of the Carson City School Board during Tuesday’s meeting.

“If those buses need to be taken out of service, it’s going to drastically affect our ability to bus kids,” he said. “I want the board to be aware of that possibility.”

Mitchell said he is working with Director of Transportation Kevin Curnes, to develop a contingency plan in case buses are lost.

“We may have to double back on routes, go to the same stop twice or alter schedules,” Mitchell said. “We would try to adjust our existing routes. We would want to do everything we could to not cut routes.”

In Carson City, about 4,000 students are bused to and from school each day. The district purchases three new buses each year at a cost of about $75,000 each to replace older buses, which usually have about 300,000 miles on them.

Contact Teri Vance at 881-1272 or tvance@nevadaappeal.com.