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HCS Bus Fleets Scores Perfect State Inspection


Ian Thompson

(HOOVER) - It was announced recently that the fleet of 170* HCS school buses had received a 100 percent perfect score after a detailed inspection by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALDSE) examiners.

“This reflects outstanding dedication from all our technicians, who take great pride in their work,” Jeremy Bradford, Transportation Coordinator for HCS, said.

“It’s remarkable and nearly unheard of (to achieve a perfect score).”

And this wasn’t a one-off, as it marks the third year in a row the division has achieved perfect marks.

Bradford also complimented the 130 bus drivers for their part in ensuring the buses are rigorously inspected both pre-and-post-trip, every trip.

“Drivers have to conduct a thorough pre-trip every time they drive the bus. And their paperwork must always be completely up-to-date.”

While a state requirement, it also is also a way that issues with a bus can be found, as well as by the monthly bus inspections conducted by the technical staff.

That technical staff is led by shop foremen Sendy Baker and Jerry Harper, who have worked 22 and 16 years respectively for Hoover City Schools, along with a wealth of technical experience with 37 and 30 years total respectively. They lead a team of eight state-certified technicians, also known as mechanics, many with decades of experience, both for HCS and outside of the school system.

They include: George Pope, 29 years total, 18 years with Hoover; Bill Price, 34 years total, 16 years with Hoover; Matt King, 23 years total, 10 years with Hoover; Johnny Forrester, 24 years total, two years with Hoover; Chad McPherson, 19 years total, one year with Hoover; Ramon Aguirre, 12 years total, two years with Hoover; Austin Shiflett, six years total, two years with Hoover; and Glenn Strain, 25 years total, three years with Hoover.

These associates are joined by parts associate Winston Waid and shop assistant Tony Wang.  In all, it totals more than 241 total years' worth of mechanical experience, 88 of those dedicated specifically to Hoover City Schools.

“This recognition means a lot to all of us,” Harper said, who has seen both sides of the fence as he worked for HCS, left to the join the state as a bus examiner, and then returned to HCS two years ago.

“We like to think our monthly inspections, plus daily (bus) driver inspections, go a very long way in keeping the buses running safely,” Baker noted.

Both shop foremen praised the technical knowledge, and great attitudes, of their technicians.

They pointed out that buses in the fleet range from one built in 2002 to six brand new buses that just arrived this month.

Some numbers…

Hoover City Schools can transport close to 8,000 students daily. This includes transportation to 18 different school sites. 

The numbers are staggering. Last year, more than 800,000 route miles were driven, with another 90,000 for field trips and athletic trips.

At the end of the 2018-19 school year there were 134 routes, with 36 of them double routes. On average, 6,200 students were transported daily by 128 drivers in May 2019.

Bradford notes that Transportation has a $5 million annual budget, with more than 180 employees including drivers, aides, two shop foremen, eight state-certified technicians, shop assistant, parts associate, route supervisor, route specialist, two secretaries, and a school bus trainer, all of whom report to him.  Bradford also indicated there's a constant need for bus drivers.

“As the student population grows and as more neighborhoods come on board we will be adding more routes and thus need more drivers. This, along with retirements and natural attrition, means we are always looking for drivers.”

Drivers and aides are full-time employees, who are contracted to work four hours a day.  Visit the HCS Transportation web page to learn more.

*168 of 170 were inspected.