(SAVANNAH) Revelations about the depth of the maintenance issues with the fleet of school buses in Chatham County comes as no surprise to some of the passengers on those buses. Joseph Mai says he graduated from Islands High School in June. He says he regularly rode a bus to Woodville Tompkins Career and Technical High School in his senior year and while it was not always the same bus, they had one thing in common: a serious state of disrepair. “Some buses were held together by duct tape, you know, I mean like… like some of the seats were patched up by duct tape. Some of the ceilings were just rusted beyond repair.” said Mai.
Islands sophomore Nyssa Sicilla says she rode the school bus home every day, but the problems on her route paled in comparison to those experienced by some of her classmates. “There’s this one bust that always showed up maybe 45 minutes late…not always, but most of the time.” Sicilla said. Mai says he’s glad he graduated and doesn’t have to ride on a school bus in Chatham County anymore, but adds that he does appreciate the rides he received to help with his education. Sicilla says she’s hopeful that the school bus service will improve now that there is a new company in charge. Both students say they believe maintenance issues has to be better this year because they can’t imagine it being worse than last year.
That new company is MV Transportation, who officially replaced First Student July 1, 2015, as Savannah Chatham County Public School System’s bus vendor. MV’s inspection of the bus fleet reveals the majority were not roadworthy based on MV’s standards, nearly 75%. First Student was responsible for repairs and maintenance of the SCCPSS fleet of 415 buses. The new school term in Chatham County starts next Thursday, August 6, 2015.