The Francis Howell School District’s many school buses were recently evaluated by The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is responsible for conducting annual safety inspections school buses across the state. Representatives of the patrol’s Motor Vehicle Inspection Section inspected 191 buses in the district’s transportation fleet. After inspection, 189 buses met all required standards for an initial passage rate of 99%. Two buses had minor issues, and after repair, every one of the district’s buses passed the final inspection. This earned the Francis Howell School District the Patrol’s Total Fleet Excellence Award, obtaining an approval rating of 90% or higher with no buses placed out-of-service. This means the district’s buses are now eligible to display the Total Fleet Excellence sticker.
“The entire transportation team pulled together to facilitate a terrific system that allowed for a smooth and efficient day,” said Director of Transportation Jen Simpson. “I especially want to thank our Fleet Manager, Paul Scheibe, and our mechanics for a job well done. They spent countless hours inspecting, repairing, and re-inspecting every vehicle.”
The Francis Howell School District transports approximately 12,000 students on an average school day to 23 schools and programs over a 150 square mile area.
The district took transportation in-house for the 2019-20 school year after using First Student for contracted bus service for almost 20 years. One of the objectives was to increase the safety of students with newer and well-maintained buses, which was achieved.
The Francis Howell bus fleet has many new features and safety upgrades, including a new digital radio system and additional dispatchers to improve communication. Every bus has a minimum of three cameras and 50 buses are equipped with stop-arm cameras to capture images of any vehicle that passes a stopped bus. The majority of the fleet is now fueled by gas instead of diesel, meaning the fleet is quieter, more fuel-efficient, cheaper to operate and easier to start in cold weather.