CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – January is here and that means more cold days than not. It was 12 degrees to start Tuesday morning and only in the 20s for the afternoon. The Parkway School District works hard to make sure their buses are running, warm, and ready to get students safely to and from school.
“We’ve got a cold morning start team. They come in early and start all the buses,” said Will Rosa, the district’s director of transportation.
Good maintenance helps keep things running and so do the engine block heaters you’ll find on most of their fleet.
“We start them. They’re warm,” Rosa said. “They’re toasty by the time we get to our first bus stop for our kids.”
It’s not just the buses who are warm, the drivers are also layering up these days.
“The door, every time it opens up, they get a blast of arctic air,” Rosa said.
Sometimes drivers must echo the voice of parents, urging students to dress warmly while they wait for their ride.
“If we had to pick one group, it would be middle school children, because they like to wear short pants and sweatshirts,” Rosa said. “So, we try to encourage them to wear the coat out the door. If they’re at the bus stop for five minutes at five degrees, it’s going to be a pretty cold drive to school.”
Dark, frigid mornings are tough, according to Rosa, but afternoons are also quite cold. No worries; drivers get those buses warmed and ready ahead of schedule too.
“By the time we get to school and are sitting for a few minutes, the buses are usually pretty decent for the kids,” Rosa said.
Single digits are expected out the door Wednesday, so the drivers will be here at the parkway bus depot extra early. Rosa said they can handle the cold but are happy to avoid snow and freezing rain for as long as they can.