Utica Community Schools buses are ready to roll for the new school year.
The 246-bus fleet recently passed a perfect inspection from the Michigan
State Police with more than 99 percent passing rate. The minor issues identified
through the inspection have been addressed and buses have been cleared for the
“Our goal is the same as every employee in Utica Community Schools – to make
sure that every child achieves,” said Director of Transportation Jan Delboy. "
We know we are the first face they see in the morning and the last they see at
the end of the day."
UCS buses typically pass the annual inspection with a rate in the high 90th
percentile, with areas needing to be addressed fixed prior to the inspector
leaving the grounds.
The state program has nearly 300 items that are reviewed before inspectors
will certify the buses. Brakes, steering and suspension are the main focus,
first aid kits, warning lights and safety equipment, and overall mechanical
issues are among areas reviewed during the annual inspection.
State inspectors visit district bus garages with little notice.
The UCS fleet undergo a regular maintenance schedule by the district's 11
mechanics. The buses are on a detailed maintenance schedule to ensure they are
in good working order and safe for the road. In addition, transportation's
inventory department ensures that necessary supplies are available to guarantee
that buses needing repair are able to quickly return to the road.
In addition, drivers perform a daily pre-trip inspection and use a work order
system to identify potential problems. Once noted, the district pulls the buses
off the road immediately until the situation is corrected. Mechanics use the
opportunity to review the bus for any other problems with the bus.
More than 21,000 students are eligible to ride buses, which travel more than
three million miles annually.
In addition to ensuring safe buses, the 236 UCS drivers are committed to
maintain safety standards on the road through regular training. Prior to hiring,
UCS drivers undergo a three week training process. A mentor is then assigned to
ride with the new driver for the first few days.
Once on the road, drivers go through regular advanced training programs.
Drivers also participate in summer training session on such topics as diversity.