More than a million Texas school students rely on Houston school buses to get to and from school each day. Approximately 9,000 public schools operate in the state and provide free transportation for students. In the Gulf Coast, many public schools also provide free transportation for students. The Klein ISD transportation department, for instance, busses nearly 23,000 students a day across 240 routes. All Houston area school districts strive to provide safe and convenient transportation for students. Drivers receive annual training to keep their qualifications current and to stay up to date with the latest safety practices.
Texas state troopers also ride Houston school buses and are vigilant about drivers who fail to stop when a bus is stopped. Failure to stop could cost you a $1,000 fine. That's not to mention the stress and anxiety it can cause. But even if you aren't facing any penalties for not wearing a seat belt, it's still better than nothing. So, the next time you see a Houston school bus, remember to buckle up.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the devastating Hurricane Rita, Houston school buses were on the front line in helping people evacuate. Whether a Houston school bus helped evacuate hospital patients or New Orleans residents, these buses helped rescue U.S. Army and Coast Guard personnel. While the exact nature of school bus usage differs from state to state, there's little doubt that the Houston ISD is doing everything possible to improve the experience of its students and parents.
Moreover, Houston ISD recently converted all of its 1,000 school buses to biodiesel. This cleaner fuel is 70 percent less expensive to operate than diesel. As a result, nearly 90 percent of the district's buses now run on bio-diesel and 10 percent on propane. These new fuel-efficient school buses help the city reduce pollution and save money. And, since every dollar counts, the Houston ISD has been leading the way in reducing air pollution for students.
In addition to these new features, Houston school buses are now required to have three-point seat belts. Drivers who are unaware of these rules will be warned against passing school buses with flashing red lights. Additionally, drivers must also follow the school bus speed limit in school zones. While this means more traffic, it is also a reminder to Texans to familiarize themselves with state school bus laws and enforce them. The board approved the changes to the student conduct code on Tuesday.
Parents can also keep track of their child's bus in real time with the FirstView Parent App. The app will allow parents to view the bus's location, receive arrival notifications and get updates on their child's arrival. Alternatively, they can fill out a form requesting transportation from the school. The transportation department will review their request within five business days. This can be a time-consuming process, but the rewards are well worth it.