FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- We all know how exciting it is to get a new car. But what about 11 of them? That's a reality in the Floyd County school system, where on Wednesday they were officially handed the keys to 11 brand new school buses.
“Having that many buses to come back in and replenish the fleet is a real plus for us,” driver Shannon Wallen said.
Wallen has been a bus driver in Floyd County for nearly 25 years. He says these new buses are going to make a big difference.
“They've changed dramatically,” Wallen said. “When I started out, the buses was pretty bad. You'd break down. Didn't have radios on them.”
And there's another huge plus -- air conditioning.
“It's really bad sometimes,” Wallen said. “I mean, I've thought sometimes they was gonna have a heat stroke on there.”
These buses were a nearly $1 million investment by the Floyd County School System. But they say every penny was worth it when it comes to student safety.
“What we spend now should pay off -- it will pay off -- tenfold in the future,” Transportation Director Bonita Compton said. “And that's the big thing.”
She says the safety features on these new buses are raising the bar.
“One of the benefits is the extra large window the bus has for the visibility for the driver,” Compton said. “They also have a little more horsepower in the engine, which will make for better takeoff for safety going up hills since we are in a hilly terrain. The seats for an average child will be sitting here and this comes up safer. It's a little higher.”
There are also bigger windows and a bigger door in back, so kids can escape in an emergency. But for students, it's all about comfort.
“Have the kids heard about the new buses?” WSAZ.com's Lauren Schmoll asked Wallen.
“Yeah,” Wallen said.
“Are they pretty excited about it?” Schmoll asked.
“Well ... About the air condition part, they're liking it,” Wallen said. “They wanna be in there where it's cool.”