B y Dan King

Local school districts are among the state’s best in keeping their buses up and running.
The state Department of Transportation has released its annual Bus Inspection System Operator Profile, which summarizes the results of vehicle inspections performed by DOT during the state fiscal year ending last March 31.
Of all the fleets that were analyzed – including public schools and private bus companies – the average rating of buses that were out-of-service was 6.1 percent. Whitehall Central School received a perfect score with 0 percent out-of-service, Hartford received a rating of 5.9 percent out-of-service and Granville was the highest, with a rating of 8.5 percent out-of-service.
Lawrence Scotto, acting director of the Passenger Carrier Safety Bureau, said in a letter, “We would like to congratulate those operators who have achieved the goal of a 90 percent or greater pass rate. Your commendable performance indicates a strong dedication to safety and a commitment to sound maintenance standards and practices.”
“A lot of people go unnoticed and they do a great job,” said Whitehall Board of Education President Jeremy Putorti. “I think this is a big kudos to those guys at the bus garage.”
The DOT report said all 35 of Whitehall’s buses passed the inspection, 34 without any defects and one with a Level B defect.
“We have fantastic mechanics over at the garage,” Putorti added. “Those guys work really hard.”
In Granville 54 of 59 buses, or 91.5 percent passed the inspection. Of the 54 that passed, 47 had no defects, five had a Level A defect, eight had a Level B defect and one had a Level C defect.
Level A defects can include such things as tire issues, exhaust leaks and issues with lifts or ramps. Level B defects include things such as seat padding, emergency exit light and signage issues. Level C defects can include things such as issues with the stepwell.
Tyler Kelly, the transportation supervisor in Granville said he was happy to see the district improve from prior years.
“I started work here in Granville in December of 2014, and have since hired a new mechanic to replace a retiring employee,” Kelly said. “We here in Granville have worked countless hours diligently together to bring back our rating.”
Kelly said since head mechanic Edward Kyea started, six months ago, the district’s rating has increased by 8 percent.

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