First Time School Bus Riders Gather to Learn About Safely Being Transported

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An incoming Kindergarten student practices safely exiting a school bus during an emergency. Helping her are bus drivers Aleithra Ball and Shelly Smith. 



Dozens of students in the Westerville City School District who will be riding a school bus for the first time this fall got a “sneak peek” at how things work during the annual First Time Riders open house, which was held at Whittier Elementary School on July 29. 

At the event, sponsored by the district’s Transportation Department, pupils got the opportunity to explore school buses up close, learn about safety, take a ride with their parents, participate in hands-on mechanical activities, and meet Buster the Bus, a talking, miniature remote-controlled school bus. 

Throughout the exhibit, which also featured a clown making balloon hats and animals, “fun facts” were posted about school transportation services.  Among other things, attendees learned that:

  • The basic design of a school bus has not changed since 1977;
  • If you stood a school bus on its end, it would stand higher than a full grown male giraffe (giraffes are 19 feet tall; school buses are 35 feet long);
  • Most Westerville buses can hold up to 72 students at one time;
  • The average life cycle of a Westerville City School bus is 15 years;
  • Westerville City School buses use more than 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel every school day;
  • Nationally, 450,000+ school buses transport more than 24 million students each day;
  • An empty school bus weighs approximately 17,000 pounds, which is the equivalent of two full grown elephants; and
  • Westerville school bus drivers attend more than 47 hours of continuing education during a six-year cycle.