You Paid for It: Cost of school bus transportation

Updated: Apr. 4, 2019 at 7:34 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - This week Live 5’s series of investigations about school buses uncovered nearly ten thousand complaints in the Tri-County just this school year.

Bus transportation is not cheap.

South Carolina law requires student transportation for any kids who live more than a mile and a half away from school.

In Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, more than 58,000 students ride the bus each day.

Dorchester District Two buses carry 16,000 riders each day. The district’s Transportation and Security budget is $11.5 million this school year. We requested a more specific breakdown from DD2.

In Berkeley County, it costs more than $10 million to transport at least 20,000 students. Both of those counties use district and state-owned buses and manages transportation at the district level.

Charleston County contracts out most of its transportation to Durham School Services. That contract is $18.6 million annually. The average ridership is about 22,000 students.

Because of bus driver shortages and traffic, our Kolbie Satterfield uncovered major problems with late buses.

CCSD is holding back 10% of pay from Durham because of those issues. The district recently started a second contract with Coastal Bus Line to manage a few routes.

DD2 is planning to launch a new app next year where parents can track buses in real time.

Districts say recruiting bus drivers has become a challenge nationally.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says school buses keep 17.3 million cars off roads every morning, and that buses are the safest way for kids to get to school.

Riding to school in a bus, the agency reported, is 70 times safer than in a car.

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