Pain At The Pump: Jacksonville ISD adjusts buses for rising fuel costs

Oil prices have fallen again. They are now at an all-time 4 month low, but the cost is still significantly more than last year at this time. The increased cost is not only affecting regular consumers, but also some east Texas school districts. KLTV 7's Danielle Capper has tonight's Pain At The Pump report.

"We drive about 3, 314 miles a day with all of those buses," said John Kellar, the transportation director at Jacksonville ISD.

Jacksonville ISD now only runs 41 bus routes, but those buses are full. They estimate 900 more kids are riding the bus this year than last year.

"We feel the numbers are up because of the rising fuel cost for parents," said Kellar.

With the cost of fuel, the school has also adjusted.

"We have not reduced services, our buses are still going in the same areas, they are still picking up kids in the morning and were still taking them home but they are walking a little bit further to the bus stop. When you can do that, it is easy to save."

Doing what they can, reducing the number of stops, consolidating routes, and instituting an exchange program where the buses meet up so every one does not have to stop at every school.

"We're trying to keep the number of miles down that we drive, keep the number of stops, and be a lot more efficient than we have been in the past," said Kellar.

Increased cost affecting the budget.

Jacksonville had to add $90,000, a 30% increase.

At Longview $175,000, a 33% increase.

And in Tyler they had to double last year's fuel budget, an additional $500,000.

"A little more than 9,000 students ride buses throughout the district," said Angela Jenkins of TISD. At TISD, trips more than 2 hours away have been adjusted.

"Trips such as to Abliene. We reduce instead of sending 7 buses of band members and cheerleaders and drill team. We send what is called a pep squad, we reduce from 7 buses to 2 buses," said Jenkins.

Slight changes so the wheels on these school buses can keep going round.

Jacksonville ISD also said this year they now have two locations where the buses are kept, on each side of town.

Danielle Capper, reporting.