Students Ride Hot Buses in Summer Heat

By Adria Goins – bio|email

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) – Wayne Harris spent the summer teaching his girl friends' two boys how to ride a bike, but Wednesday, the summer vacation is over and he will send the kids off to school.

"I'm pretty excited about them going back to school to get a little me time on my off days," said Harris.

The boys will not be riding the bus to school. They will load up in the cool car and make the short trip to avoid the heat. Ninety percent of Bossier Parish's buses do not have air conditioning. Temperatures around 3 p.m. inside a bus, when students are heading home, can reach triple digits.

"The majority of the students are home in 30 minutes," said John Reser, Bossier Parish School District transportation supervisor. "It's the small percentage that has the long trip and some have an hour."

"The mornings aren't the problem. In the afternoon it's going to be hot."

Jackie Upchurch is a former bus driver and has been working for the school district's transportation department for nearly 30 years. She knows firsthand just how hot it can be driving kids from stop to stop.

"It can be 115 degrees to 120 degrees with the windows down," said Upchurch.

Only 10 of Bossier's 280+ fleet have air conditioning. As soon as a person steps onto one of the vehicles, one can feel the difference. It is 20 degrees cooler. Bossier Parish's air conditioned buses are dedicated to students with special needs or rural routes. Forty percent of the 475 buses in Caddo Parish have A/C and both districts say that are working to replace its entire fleet with vehicles that have a cooling system.

Bossier Parish said they do provide water and ice for the special needs students during the bus rides and they do allow students on the buses without air conditioning to bring water.

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