District has 90 percent or greater inspection rate over last 21 years
Classes in the Hannibal School District #60 were canceled Wednesday due to dangerously low temperatures and wind-chill values. When classes resume, getting the district's fleet of buses started after sitting in the record cold will not be a concern.
"We have block heaters on the engines and use a fuel additive that helps to deter fuel gelling," said Rich Stilley, business manager for the school district.
Bus reliability is essential throughout the school year, but especially on frigid days when youngsters are standing out waiting for a ride to school.
"It is very critical that we remain on schedule to ensure that we pick up children on time and in a safe manner," Stilley said. "However, we also take a little extra time to assure that we do not leave anyone behind."
Bus ridership tends to remain close to the same regardless of the temperature, Stilley said.
"Some neighborhoods see a slight decrease in ridership, while others increase slightly," he said.
Considerable time and effort goes into maintenance aimed at keeping buses safe and on the road.
"Anything we can do to keep our buses up to date with preventative and predictive maintenance is always a value added support to keep buses running regardless of the weather," Stilley said, adding that regular maintenance has enabled the district to maintain a 90 percent or greater inspection rate over the past 21 years.