Buses breakdown on first day of school - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Buses breakdown on first day of school

By Jenn Strathman

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The first day of school in Palm Beach County started like school ended: buses stuck on the side of the road.

Last year, our investigation found 70-percent of the buses broke down at least once. The district's new transportation director said he's trying to lower that number to make sure your children get to and from school on time.

Kids were ready to head back to class, but not all of Palm Beach County's buses were ready to hit the road.

Bus 419 was supposed to be on the road Monday in the northern part of the county, but remained sidelined waiting for repairs. "I just don't understand that that's still an issue," explained mom Paige Jack.

Jack's children rode bus 419 last year. The bus broke down 15 times making her kids late getting to and from school.

"Have you had some buses not start?" we asked new Transportation Director Dave Davis.

"Probably been a few. They've been sitting a few days and it happens," explained Davis.

Davis said mechanics worked on the buses all summer hoping to fix some of the maintenance issues.

This year they've added 110 new buses. The district says it'll help increase the size of the fleet of spares available when one does break down. "Most of our spares will be our older fleet," explained Davis.

While Davis said they turned the older buses into spares, the Consumer Watchdog found nearly one in six of the spare buses is less than four years old.

The oldest spare bus is just eight years old. "That's usually where we have some type of major repair we are waiting to get done," explained Davis.

While Davis said newer buses used as spares likely have an outstanding repair issue, we couldn't find that in the district's own repair records.

Your kids ride these buses, and that's why we continue to press for answers on these safety issues. You're my eyes and ears on the road. A Facebook fan spotted a broken down bus this morning and sent me a picture. Send me your stories and pictures too on Facebook and Twitter.

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