- Pay, bonuses make bus driving very appealing - 

Each school day morning at 6 a.m., a line of Humble ISD buses maneuver down West Lake Houston Parkway, positioned to pick up their young passengers, the white roofs gleaming under the streetlights.

What? Gleaming white roofs?

When did yellow school buses acquire white roofs?

Always curious, The Tribune wanted to know, so we contacted Jamie Mount, longtime chief communications officer for Humble ISD, and discovered there is a logical and scientific reason.

“White roofs on modern buses are a simple and effective means of keeping buses cooler during the hottest and sunniest months of the year,” Mount told The Tribune, quoting J.P. Burd, Humble ISD’s director of transportation. “The paint works to reflect the heat as air conditioning inside the bus cools the interior.”

In Texas, Burd said, white roofs on school buses began about the time that school buses began to be equipped with air conditioning, around the early 2000s.

There appears to be an entire science built around school buses and keeping kids safe. Here is what The Tribune discovered:

- Yellow body — That is the safest color for moving vehicles. School buses are yellow because the human eye detects yellow better. Even in bad weather, lateral peripheral vision for detecting yellow is greater.

- Black hood — Hoods painted black reduced glare for the driver.

- White roofs — A North Carolina study in the 1990s discovered white-topped buses have internal temperatures an average of 10 degrees cooler than yellow topped buses.

- Those Three Lines along the sides and backs of the buses — They are called rub rails and they are there for two reasons. First, they absorb the force of a collision with a car and prevent the side of the bus from caving in. Second, the lowest line is floor level. The middle is opposite the bottom of the seats. The top line matches the top of the seats and the bottom of the windows.

In a crash, firefighters know where to cut into the sides of the bus in case they cannot reach the doors or windows.

Of course, the best safety protection is a good driver and, in the wake of a severe nationwide staffing shortage, Humble ISD is providing several perks and benefits.

“There is a nationwide shortage of skilled school bus drivers, so transportation staff members are helping out with covering routes while we continue to hire,” said Burd.

In Humble ISD, starting pay for bus drivers is $16.25 an hour and, with experience, up to $17.37 an hour, according to Burd. The district even pays trainees at $12. 94 an hour and benefits are available.

“We are offering an additional $200 a paycheck through Oct. 29 and employees are receiving a retention stipend of $500 in December and May if they are employed through the school year,” said Burd. “And we offer a $50 attendance incentive each month for perfect attendance.”

No appointment is needed for persons interested in becoming a school bus driver. Bring a valid Texas driver’s license to the Humble ISD Transportation Department at 1703 Wilson Road, Building C, or the new North Transportation Center at 24755 Ford Road, any school day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Humble ISD processes applications for professional school bus drivers and attendants every weekday, humbleisd.net. Click on the “Join Our Team” icon.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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