“Our motto in transportation is, if it’s not safe enough for you to put your own personal relative on it, don’t put anybody else’s relative on a bus,” said Fleet Manager Jerome Perryman.
The 2023-2024 fleet consists of 688 buses that cover 765 routes, and around 25,000 miles a day. These buses received the school system’s best safety inspection on record, with just one bus in the entire fleet being found to have a deficiency.
Only 0.1% of the fleet failed the inspection, compared to the state’s failure average of 0.9%. This makes MCPSS buses some of the safest in Alabama.
“When a bus needs repairs, if it needs an oil change, new tires, or more serious repairs, that bus is pulled out of the system and a replacement bus is used to transport the students,” said Rena Philips.
Philips, the Director of Communication for Mobile County Public Schools, said the school system is always striving to make improvements. The next step is ensuring all buses are cool and comfortable for students and drivers.
“Since 2021, we have been implementing air conditioning every year as we buy buses,” said Perryman.
Currently, all buses carrying special needs students have A/C, as well as 53% of the route buses. With annual state funding, only buses with A/C will be purchased from now on.
Despite the progress made, the school system is still trying to address staffing shortages within its transportation department. Right now, they are recruiting maintenance personnel and bus drivers.
“The school board just approved a raise for bus drivers so that’s a benefit. It’s also a part-time job with full-time benefits,” said Philips.
The school board hopes a pay raise, great benefits, and a pleasant work environment will help bring in more hires.
If you’re interested in applying with MCPSS, go to this link.