SISTERSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) – The roles are reversed in Tyler County.
While the students enjoy their summer break—it’s the bus drivers who are taking a test.
For decades now, the School Bus Road-E-O has been a chance for them to get together, show off their driving skills and have fun.
Obstacles were set up in the high school parking lot that forced them to squeeze into a tight clearance space, turn around barrels and pull up to a precise spot—all in front of judges.
A lot of people think the bus driver comes to work, is there for about an hour to two hours, drops the students off and leaves. There’s a lot that goes behind our job that people don’t see and people don’t know.Martin Parrish, School Bus Road-E-O Coordinator
Dozens of drivers from all around the state were ranked on a point system for their mastery of the challenges—all of which a driver could realistically face on their route.
It doesn’t matter which county you go to, we all have those roads that are just barely wider than the bus that we’re traveling.Jimmy Lacy, VP, West Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation
And it goes without saying—it isn’t easy.
Some of the competitors are veterans…but more than half are first-timers that sometimes give the old guard a run for their money.
So it’s training, it’s fun and it’s competitive, people come to win the trophy to win it, so they can say, ‘I’m the state champion.’Jimmy Lacy, VP, West Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation
But more than just a way to keep their skills sharp, the competition is also to show the public how seriously they take their job.
Safety of the kids is number one. Because if we don’t keep the kids safe, then they don’t get their education.Martin Parrish, School Bus Road-E-O Coordinator
So breathe a sigh of relief when you drop your kid off at the bus stop—their ride to school in is in expert hands.
A driver from Kanawha County was the winner of today’s contest, and will compete at the national level in 2023.