How are the drivers trained? Do you run background checks?
Durham School Services has the most extensive background and screening process in the school bus driving industry! Each driver must have a commercial driver license (CDL) with the appropriate endorsements. We require all personnel to submit for pre-employment Drug and Alcohol testing, physicals and take a written “ESI” safety test. FBI fingerprinting, background, criminal history and motor vehicle records are checked. We also perform analysis on driving record blemishes for patterns. All of this is to ensure we can invite the safest drivers to drive our precious cargo!
Each driver must undergo Durham School Services classroom safety training and behind the wheel skills training. There are written and behind-the-wheel examinations. Each new driver must attend state mandated classroom training through the Michigan Department of Education and Oakland Schools. Every other year all of our drivers must attend continuing education classes and pass a written test at these classes. Durham School Services performs annual evaluations of every driver to ensure their knowledge and skills continue to meet the high standards we have set for our team members.
Each year 50% of our drivers must submit to random drug testing and 25% must submit to random alcohol testing. Driver licenses are checked annually; if a bus driver receives any points on his/her license the Department of Education notifies our office immediately. By law, no bus driver can drive a school bus with more than six points on his/her license. Durham School Services has set a higher standard by mandating that any driver with three or more points will be ineligible for employment with our company.
Bus drivers are trained by a state trained school bus driver trainer for between one and three weeks. There is classroom work and behind-the-wheel driving for these "beginning" school bus drivers. On the average there is forty to sixty hours of training with our Durham School Bus Driver Trainer’s. After the behind-the-wheel examination, the General Manager assign's a mentor to our new bus drivers who will help them learn the area, culture, systems, clientele, and hone their student management techniques.
This process is followed to ensure all drivers can, and will, live up to our mission: “Getting kids to school safe, on time and ready to learn….every day”!
For additional information on our hiring and screening process please visit the Durham School Services Web Site,
Why do school buses not have seat belts?
There is a passive restraint system on the school buses. Since 1977 the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards have been increasingly stringent concerning school bus construction. The seat backs are higher; there is more padding; the padding is thicker; the seats are closer together; the steel ribs are of heavier gauge metal which act as a “roll bar” if you will; and much more. If there is a front or rear end collision, the student would move into the back of the seat in front of them and then "bounce" back in their own seat. This reduces injuries to the student as it would not be as severe as if the child was wearing a seat belt.
With a seat belt, the child is strapped in at the pelvic area. Upon impact the child's upper body would move in to the back of the seat in front of them; but the lower body would stay in position. The child's head and neck would hit the seat first and then bounce back in to his own seat. That would cause major head, neck and internal injuries... or worse.
As long as your child is sitting properly in the bus seat, "bottom to bottom, back to back, and no body parts in the aisle way", your child will have a safe and enjoyable ride on our school buses.
The bus passes my house, why can't you stop and pick up my child?
We pass by most homes in the district. There are approximately 9,000 public school students. Each bus stop takes at least 30 seconds; we would not be able to perform busing service on schedule, if we were to operate in this manner. Hence the reason for group stops.
Where is my bus? It's late!
On a typical day all buses leave the bus garage at the same time each day. Our motto is “On Time…Every Time”. Inclement weather, snowy, icy or wet roads, construction and/or detours can all create heavy traffic conditions, and affect the timing of our buses arriving at stops.
There are times in the afternoon when the principals will ask us to wait for a child who has gone back to the school to get a book or homework. There may be a behavior management situation on the bus that requires the driver to speak with the principal before leaving the school. These conditions can cause the bus to depart a few minutes off schedule.
Additionally, there are occasions when the bus will have a mechanical problem found during the required “pre-trip check list” or a breakdown. This, too, can cause the driver to be late in picking up students as they will have to either switch buses and perform another “pre-trip inspection” or have a bus brought to the breakdown location.
It would not be possible for us to contact every parent of the students on that route in time to relay this information. We ask that parents please utilize the Durham Bus Tracker App which is available at Google Play and the Apple App Store. For more Bus Tracker App information please click www.durhamschoolservices.com/durham-bus-tracker/
When the driver notifies our office of a problem causing that bus to be late, we also immediately place it on our hot line - (248) 203-3960. You are also welcome to contact our office at 248-203-3940 to speak with a representative.
If it is necessary that you leave your home before the bus arrives, please discuss with your child "plans of action" so they will know what to do if a problem occurs at the bus stop.
My child's friend wants to ride the bus home with her.
Many of our buses are at or near capacity and allowing additional students to ride the bus can create overcrowded conditions. If it is absolutely necessary that a classmate must come home with your child, that parent should send a note with the child and have the principal sign the note to authorize the ride. The driver should be given the note when the children board the bus.
If the children are scheduled to ride the same bus, then the parent should send a note stating that you have allowed your child to get off the bus with _______ at their bus stop. This note must be given to the bus driver.
My child left his homework, or his jacket, on the bus. How do I get it back?
The driver checks his/her bus at the end of the day. Any items left on the bus that the driver finds are usually brought to the front of the bus for the child to reclaim on the next bus run. Band instruments, wallets or glasses are usually brought in to the office at the end of the day for safe keeping. We then return them to the driver on the following morning so the owner can claim these valuables.
We have no lost and found box in our office. Items of clothing that are left on the buses for greater lengths of time are sent to the appropriate school. Labeled clothing is returned to the student.
Why can't my child bring his large band instrument onto the bus?
It is now a Michigan State law that all instruments must be held by the student. If it cannot fit on the students lap we can not transport it.
When MUST motorists STOP for the school bus?
In preparation for a school bus stop, the bus driver will activate YELLOW FLASHING LIGHTS approximately 200 feet prior to the stop. This is the indicator to other motorists to slow down and proceed with caution because there is a school bus stop ahead. When the bus comes to a complete stop at the bus stop, and opens the door, the RED FLASHING LIGHTS are activated. When you see RED FLASHING lights, and the extended "STOP" arm on a school bus, you MUST stop! This is the signal that the bus has stopped to pick up or to drop off students. Motorists must wait until the red flashing lights are turned off before they can resume driving.
The exception to this rule is a roadway which is separated by a median; then only the traffic following the bus MUST stop. Examples would be Telegraph Road or Woodward Avenue.
If my child is absent from school, do I need to notify transportation?
If your child is transported by a special needs bus, or is the only child assigned at a bus stop, notification would be appreciated.