Shiny new buses are here

SAN BENITO — Changes are happening in the San Benito District transportation department.

The department received two new buses earlier this week.

These are the first two of 18 new buses that will join the existing fleet.

In September, the board of trustees authorized the lease of 18 new buses for the department.

The purchase included two international buses to fit the needs of special education students and 16 regular buses for the general population.

The purchase totaled $1.6 million to be paid over the course of four years.

The two international buses ran at about $94,000 each with the regular buses costing $88,000 in total.

Currently there are 74 buses in rotation.

The purchase will replace 15 buses and add three new buses to the existing fleet.

According to a Facebook post, the two new buses will be used for the country routes, providing transportation for students living outside of the city limits.

During a recent town hall meeting at the School District, one student talked about the struggle of getting to school in time for breakfast due to the long bus route.

The student hoped the extra buses would help fix that.

According to transportation director, Erica Flores, as the year progresses the need for transportation increases due to field trips in addition to existing routes.

On average, 4,000 to 6,000 students are transported by district buses every year.

A recent partnership between the school district and the Boys & Girls Club of San Benito has added an extra route after school, transporting students to the club from Miller Jordan Middle School.

The remaining 16 buses are scheduled to arrive in early December.

Flores would not comment further on the issue.

School transportation by the numbers

• 74 buses in rotation

• 18 new buses leased

• 17 schools in the district

• 4,000 to 6,000 students are transported by bus each year