Oct. 22, 2013
Each school day as the big yellow taxi makes its daily trip taking kids to and from school, its drivers in Albemarle County, racked up 14,000 miles. As part of National School Bus Safety Week, Albemarle County honored those school bus drivers with a breakfast on Tuesday.
One of those drivers, Marv Ayres is on the road every morning at 6:30 picking up kids. On his elementary school route, Ayres brings 70 children to school.
"They're better behaved in the morning, because they're not awake yet," said Ayres. "In the afternoon my elementary school kids are pretty revved up; it depends on how much sugar they ate during the day."
Vyt Kavolius has been driving a school bus for four years, and has turned his bus into a classroom on wheels. He posts a white board posing a question of the day to the kids.
"The first day, it's a very easy question to give the first graders and kindergartners a chance, and then as the days go on, Friday's question becomes very very difficult," said Kavolius.
Past Friday questions include the "what is an isthmus," and "determine the formula for a sphere."
However, it's not all fun and games. The bus drivers say they are always worried about the kid's safety, especially because motorists often ignore basic school bus safety.
Ayres says his biggest fear is getting rear-ended on Route 29, and constantly has cars speeding past him, even as he tries to let kids off the bus.
"I'll have three cars just blow through my red lights because they are going so fast," Ayres said.
Kavolius worries about his smallest passengers getting on and off the bus. He fears distracted motorists might not see them.
"I have kindergartners and first graders crossing the roads, and it would be a horror story if they passed," said Kavolius.
They say the safety of the kids is their main priority because at the end of the day, it's all about them.