The Bus Swap

The bus schedule announcement each afternoon is new this year, but it has nothing to do with speculations of a driver shortage.

The+Transportation+Department+has+devised+a+plan+to+allow+students+to+find+their+buses+more+easily+during+dismissal.+

photo By Anthony Durzo

The Transportation Department has devised a plan to allow students to find their buses more easily during dismissal.

Anthony Durzo, News Editor

It’s the final period of the school day and students anxiously wait for the dismissal bell to sound from NASH’s PA system. They hear a sound from the speaker in their classroom, but it’s a few minutes too early for the bell. 

“Please pardon the interruption, NASH. The bus schedule for today is as follows,” NASH secretary Mrs. Mary Anne Foglio announces to the school at 2:10pm. 

The afternoon announcement has been made daily for approximately three months now, leading to speculations of a shortage of bus drivers.

However, Transportation Supervisor Deanna Graham says that the reason behind the substitution of buses is not what some may believe. 

“This is something we have set up in order to have a more effective communication with the schools about which buses were going to be different in the afternoon,” Graham said. 

The substitution of buses, Graham explained, is due to routine inspections conducted by district mechanics. Some of those inspections can lead to the temporary removal of a specific bus, depending on what the necessary repair entails or what parts are in need of a replacement. 

This is something we have set up in order to have a more effective communication with the schools about which buses were going to be different in the afternoon”

— Deanna Graham, NA Transportation Supervisor

According to Transportation Manager Brad Straight, most maintenance is scheduled in advance, but other times it’s the result of an unexpected mechanical failure.  

“If a bus is out in the morning and it has a mechanical issue, they pull it into the shop right away,” Straight said.  

There are other times maintenance is not the reason why a certain bus may be switched. 

In addition to the 76 bus routes that are taken every school day, there are extracurricular activities, such as academic field trips and athletic events, that also require students to be transported by one of the 106 buses that make up the North Allegheny fleet. 

In the past, when a bus needed a substitution, the employees in the Transportation Department would make a phone call to the specific school to be affected. However, the process has now been streamlined.

“The only thing that is different now is that we are letting the secretaries know of the change of bus numbers in the afternoon.” Graham said. 

These afternoon announcements are made at all schools in the North Allegheny School District. Graham and Straight believe the process will especially help the elementary and middle schools. 

The line of buses is always the same at the high school because of dismissal time. There is plenty of time for bus drivers to arrive at NAI and NASH in time. For the middle and elementary schools, the lineups are not always the same because of the routes that are taken from NAI and NASH earlier in the afternoon . 

This is just so that everybody has an equal opportunity to find their bus”

— Transportation Supervisor, Deanna Graham

“Some of the younger students were having a little bit of difficulty finding their buses and they’re looking for a specific bus number every day,” Graham said. 

Now, because of the announcements, the faculty at all schools are able to assist students who may be confused regarding which bus will take them home. 

“This is just so that everybody has an equal opportunity to find their bus,” Graham concluded.