Apple Bus readies routes for brand new faculty yr | Schooling
Beginning its third season of a five-year contract with the St. Joseph School District, Apple Bus Co. executives are proud of the recent improvements and ask for a measure of grace in the inevitable growing pains.
Mark Alexander, general manager of St. Joseph for the Cleveland, Missouri-based company, spoke on Friday about the most influential change: the schedule for new routes.
“There are a lot of factors and things going into the composition of the routes,” he said. “And the one thing I would ask most of all for the first few weeks is patience. Because when you put (routes) on paper, it looks like a perfect world, as is well known. However, when you drive in the real world there are a few changes that need to be made. So be patient with us. “
The routes are contained in 18 PDF files that are hosted on the St. Joseph School District website, sjsd.k12.mo.us/, and also sent directly to parents. Most routes have between 10 and 20 stops. Some have less than 10 and are ready within 30 minutes while some have more than 20. The idea is that no child sits on the bus for long, even if it is picked up first. A national transport standard in less than 60 minutes is often discussed but not required by law.
“Over the past year or so, I think Apple has made really big strides,” said Robert Sigrist, the school district’s student services and non-academic support director, who is responsible for making sure the bus company does what it is compensated taxpayers for . “You did a great job for us last year during… a lot of different things we had to do differently with COVID. And how we routed buses and with assigned seats, things were really positive from that perspective. “
Alexander celebrated how Apple Bus finally filled all the positions needed to cover all routes in the St. Joseph School District.
“We all came together as a team,” he says. “You know, it’s a difficult job. But it’s amazing that we actually did it here in St. Joe. “
Bottlenecks are the norm across the country as educators and contractors have to work hard to find skilled, safe drivers willing to work earlier based on available wages which vary. At the corporate level, Apple Bus earns more with every bus that moves. The firm’s fee schedule includes dozens of accrued costs for various situations. The cheapest standardized costs are “Regular Route – Single” at USD 232.27 for a maximum of four and a half hours of travel per bus per day. The most expensive “Special Needs – Quad” costs 374.90 US dollars for a maximum of six hours of operation per bus per day.
Sigrist talked about how difficult it can be to pinpoint costs as the county has to pay 100% of certain variable expenses like gasoline in addition to route charges. This sometimes works in favor of the county: When the school closed due to COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, the county owed Apple Bus essentially nothing.
“You know, we have to budget for that,” he said. “Really, as with any budget, we’re doing our best with it. Of course, when gas prices go up, it costs more. When gas prices go down, we’ll recoup some of it. And that’s just one of those things. “