LEWISBORO, N.Y. Students in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District are about to be riding in style.
The district received the first vehicles that were included in the Bus Replacement Proposition, which the community passed last May during the budget vote.
A new wheelchair-accessible van is already in service and six new buses and five vans are coming soon. This week, district officials unveiled a standard bus and the wheelchair-accessible van when Transportation Supervisor James Minihan gave a presentation and tour of the new acquisitions to School Board President Mark Lipton, John Jay Middle School Principal Richard Leprine, and two students.
Lipton said the buses are in improvement for the drivers and students.
We always strive to progress and advance," he said. "These buses enhance the student experience.
The districts transportation department is responsible for 87 buses and vans, some of which are more than 10 years old with high mileage, which leads to increased maintenance costs. The new vehicles, which are replacing older buses and vans that were showing signs of rust and general wear-and-tear, ensure greater safety and durability, district officials said.
Each new bus is equipped with modern safety devices. The standard 78-passenger bus contains a Thomas rear engine and the latest pollution control features. A forward-facing Woodstock mirror is attached to the stop sign on the rear of the bus, enhancing the driver's visibility. The wheelchair-ready van contains an interior that allows for a variety of seating configurations so that it can accommodate a combination of up to six wheelchairs or 24 students. The wheelchairs will be forward-facing with four-point tie-downs. Unlike vans with manual ramps, this van boasts an automatic lift that has the capacity to handle 400 to 600 pounds and has a brake interlock, district officials said. The wide body provides more comfort and the automatic securement tie-downs are an improved locking device.
The districts buses and vans are not only used to transport students to and from school each day - they are also utilized for purposes such as field trips and athletic events. The wheelchair-accessible van enables the district to accommodate students with special circumstances so that they may be provided the same opportunities and services as students riding standard buses.
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