Busing students to local schools has been a quandary for a decade or so as fleets were recognized to be polluting the environment more than they helped the air by taking individual cars off the road. In addition, in the older diesel vehicles, fumes sometimes entered the buses through the floorboards as well as every time the door opened. Not a good way for children to begin or end their school days.
School buses were ditched due to their pollution and the expense of providing transportation to the students. As budgets continued to be cut, parents had to make other arrangements to get their children to school. More students began to ride bikes, and families formed carpools for their children. Nonetheless, traffic jams became the norm around schools, resulting in idling cars and - more pollution. Not to mention the inconvenience to the parents.
Now Traffix is launching in August, a partnership of Danville, San Ramon, Contra Costa County and the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The bus program is slated to receive $40 million in Measure J funding in order to get the program off the ground but rider fees will help to cover ongoing costs once the program is started.
Seven schools, both middle and elementary, will initially be served by the buses. In order to work out a schedule to fully utilize the vehicles, times had to be changed for beginning and ending the school day at some campuses. Cost will be $200 per year for students who sign up this summer; after school begins, the cost goes up to $250. Before when the district provided busing, it cost $400.
Traffix is expecting about 2,000 students to ride the buses. This should alleviate traffic, save wear and tear on the roads and "spare the air." The 19 new buses have features such as full lap and shoulder seatbelts, a GPS system and air conditioning. But best of all, the brand new vehicles are state-of-the-art, with non-polluting diesel engines that are 60 times cleaner than the previous generation of buses.