Many Aiken County students will soon be riding to school in style. South Carolina bought new school buses for the first time in ten years. If you live in Aiken County, twenty of them may soon be rolling up to a bus stop near you.
Old buses have been a problem in South Carolina for some time.
There are more buses over ten years old in South Carolina than in any other state. The average bus age is 14 years.
And the state run maintenance team has learned older buses equal more problems. They break down more and produce more pollution. Replacement parts become harder to find and more expensive as buses age.
So thanks to $36 million in funding from the state, it is out with a lot of the old and in with the new.
The sleek new design comes with visibility improvements, including a low sloping hood for the driver. It also has advanced safety features and improved comfort features for the driver and the bus riders.
"Oh yes, it is always exciting to get to be able to get rid of some and get new ones and learn more technology," says Clyde Ergle with Aiken Bus Maintenance. "We have a few buses now that have the same motor as the new ones are going to have. It's always a constant learning experience, especially in this industry."
The top of the line buses come with a hefty price tag. A standard 65 passenger bus costs roughly $54,000.
The 630 new buses were just ordered.
Look for them on the road as soon as November.