OLATHE, Kan. — Back to school means it’s back to riding the bus for many students across the Kansas City area. First Student bus company wants drivers to prepare to see a lot more school buses on the roads again.
Supervisors want to remind drivers to respect the stop arm that comes out on the side of a bus when children are loading and unloading. Both directions of traffic need to stop at that time. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass the bus when it has its stop sign engaged.
First Student buses are designed to get the attention of other drivers on the road. The buses have a strobe light, yellow and red flashers, and the yellow color itself is purposeful.
"That color makes it very easy to see a school bus," Darlene Davis from First Student's Olathe, Kansas, location pointed out. "School bus yellow has been around since 1939. Drivers can see that color in the periphery of their vision, which makes it handy for us to keep our students safe."
Davis said studies show riding the bus to school is safer than walking or riding in the average family car. The seats on the bus are designed with safety in mind.
"We do have compartmentalization," Davis said. "They are taller and thicker. They allow the kids to be in the seat like an egg is in an egg carton."
As for parents, Davis said there is some prep work they can do with children ahead of the first day of school. First, show children their school bus stop. Go over the procedures of riding the bus and the importance of following the driver’s instructions while loading and unloading. And show excitement leading up to the first day of school.
"There are a lot of different school bus books out there they can sit down and read with them and let them know what it’s like to be on a school bus for the first time from comforts of their own home. So as they're reading through that, they can visualize what it's like," Davis said.
Over the summer, each driver at First Student received more than 50 hours of training.
In the Kansas City area First Student serves districts in Olathe, Gardner, Lone Jack and Kansas City Missouri charter schools, to name a few.
First Student is always hiring drivers.