If you open the November Issue of School Bus Fleet Magazine, you will discover that North Carolina has a school bus transportation fleet that is "Advancing with Technology".
They are providing excellent in-service education to the technicians by
holding numerous training sessions on a variety of topics that help them
service today's high tech buses. The technicians have a very spacious
and modern garage area that is well equipped including access to six
laptops located in the shop area. Several times a year the community
outreach program informs the public about school bus regulations by
going to shopping centers and setting up a display that includes Buster
the bus and a restored 1950 Chevy school bus.
Bus drivers remain well informed through meetings, safety programs and
banquets that are held to keep up the morale. Additionally, the
department applied for two grants to help purchase bus filtration
systems to reduce diesel emissions, completed installation of video
camera's on all 206 buses and has a safety committee made up of
various folks throughout the department to review all school bus
incidents and collisions.
Currently the Transportation Department is getting the most attention
due to the in-house Bio-Diesel production facility. Gaston County is
leading the way in recycling by taking waste vegetable oil from within
the school system and producing Bio-Diesel to mix in with the regular
Diesel. They run this mix in the older buses that have already gone off
warranty. They hope to save $150,000 per year once full production is
achieved. In early October a press conference about the Bio-Diesel
production was well received by all of the local & national media.
Numerous TV news stories and newspaper articles were generated for the
world to see.
At the helm of all this attention is Baxter Starr, Director and Grady
Truett, Shop Foreman. They have worked together for over 25 years to
help make the Gaston Co. Transportation Dept. the successful program
that it is today. They are both very modest in the spotlight and are
quick to point out that they have excellent technicians in the shop, a
great office staff, and total support from the superintendent's
Congratulations Gaston County for being recognized as an outstanding
school bus fleet!