Southampton unveils new line of school buses
Published 1:44 pm Friday, December 18, 2015
Southampton County Public Schools for the third-consecutive year unveiled a new fleet of Thomas School buses. The five new vehicles, built by Sonny Merryman Inc., will replace five older buses, as the district continues to place emphasis on providing students with safe, reliable and efficient transportation to and from school.
“The fleet was aging and we had not had a cycle to replace these buses as they get older like we should have been,” Superintendent Dr. Alvera J. Parrish said, and added that many of the buses are more than 15 years old. “I wanted to start this course of action so that we would have buses that would provide better safety for our kids.”
Three of the buses are identical to those purchased in each of the last two years, and cost $82,082 apiece. They hold 65 passengers and are estimated to get 10 to 11 miles per gallon, almost double what the older models attain. The two 77-passenger buses, meanwhile, each come with a price tag of $85,915, an expense that was approved by both the school board and county board of supervisors.
“I’m most appreciative of the board of supervisors for providing the funding and support for us to get these buses,” Parrish said.
These aren’t your typical school buses, either, as the new fleet features air conditioning, four security camera, graffiti- proof seats and Wi-Fi capability. The windows are tinted and the roof is painted white, making for a 12-degree temperature difference from the old buses.
“The new buses won’t require the extensive maintenance that the older buses did,” Parrish said.