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Aiken Co. school transportation anticipating bus delays for the first week of school

Aiken County buses

As students prepare for their first day of school, so do Aiken County bus drivers. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 15, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Monday, Aug. 15, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- Monday marks the first day of school for five S.C. counties. In Aiken County, bus drivers have already started up their engines to pick up thousands of students.

Nearly 200 bus drivers will be driving 10,000 students through different routes in Aiken county.

Mattie Young has been driving the same route for years.

"Well, I looked over them and plan to go out and make sure Monday morning I'll be in the right place when I stop," she said.

She has eight new stops to learn along with new faces on the bus.

"First week it's getting to know the students, the new students, and the new stops. That's probably the worst thing," Young said.

This year school transportation tried something new.

"We had bus drivers at the school during registration, they took anyone there that wanted to register for the bus," said Maria McClure, the district transportation manager.

That way drivers would know if the right students are on the bus. They also have new cameras this year.

Drivers like Ms. Young are always keeping an eye on their students through the mirrors on the buses, but the cameras give them an extra set of eyes.

The transportation department says the cameras will also help keep drivers on track and on time, but they are warning parents to expect a few delays the first week.

"That first week, buses, they will be late because they'll be delayed at the schools making sure everyone is on the right bus," McClure said.

Another added obstacle for Young includes picking up students from multiple schools. After she picks up her elementary students, she'll go back and pick up middle and high school students.

"So if they are late with elementary, then of course it will affect their middle and high," McClure said.

Some more bad news, the buses in Aiken County do not have air conditioning but the transportation department says the good news is that they have enough drivers this year, which will help with getting students home faster.

If you are a parent in Aiken County and you're still wondering which bus your child needs be at in the mornings, take them to the nearest bus stop. The stops are posted here.

You can also contact the transportation department at (803) 593-7201 to find out which buses are experiencing delays.

Another after-hour number to keep on hand is (803) 593-7143. Calling that number will put parent in touch with a supervisor for their schools.

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