Another great year of school bus transportation is in the books but our top priority within the TPS transportation department is always to safely deliver our students to and from school in the safest possible way. This sounds simple but covering over 625 square miles of Cherokee county isn't always an easy task.
This school year our buses traveled over 290,000 miles. With more than 23 experienced route drivers combined with the knowledge of our area roads, we have provided a positive, safe environment for our students. All of our drivers must have CDL licenses, school bus driver certificates, and are subjected to random drug testing. They must also constantly stay updated with Oklahoma safety procedures in order to maintain their certification.
We also transport Boys and Girls Club and summer school students and provide lunch shuttles for our Boot School and Alternative School students. Of course there are also the many miles driven each year for student activity and athletic trips.
The world of safety has evolved over recent years. TPS offers safer buses with higher padded seating along with nicer comfort. Each route bus is also equipped with at least three video cameras with audio. These cameras make sure the district has a record of exactly what occurs during the bus ride. They also preserve a GPS driving record of exactly where the bus has traveled along with a record of the speed of the vehicle as it is in route.
Our district's bus radio communication has also been improved to allow tower coverage to be able to communicate to drivers as they travel through all parts of the county, even in the most remote areas where regular cell phones may not work.
When possible we also offer bus monitors on many of our routes to help students observe all safety regulations, to help maintain discipline as the students are being transported, to assist the driver in following assigned pickup schedules, and to help keep appropriate records when needed.
TPS also has two special needs buses with wheel chair lifts which help us meet the needs of our special needs students.
We hope to improve district transportation by incorporating a new bus software program which will allow us the ability to evaluate current bus routes with the option of redesigning existing routes in order to be more efficient.
The district continues to provide our own fueling of transportation vehicles with both gasoline and diesel. We also provide washing as well as the maintenance of our buses on site when possible. We provide our own roadside service when at all possible.
As we gear toward another school year, we look forward to seeing new student faces who understand it is a privilege to ride a school bus. If you have questions about routes, please call our transportation department. Our Transportation Director is Mr. Brad Jones and our Transportation Manager is Mr. Larry Wood.