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Fleet of New School Buses Sitting Idle

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Aired 4/19/09

A fleet of new San Diego school buses haven’t been used this year because they don’t meet state safety standards. The vehicles were to replace aging buses that help transport more than 22,000 district students. KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.                 

The San Diego Unified School District got 25 new school buses this year for $2.5 million. But the vehicles have been sitting in a parking lot for the past couple months. Some bus drivers and mechanics and say district officials aren’t doing enough to inspect and oversee the purchase of these vehicles. But the district’s business officer Jose Betancourt stands by the new fleet, saying the buses need only minor safety repairs.  

Betancourt: If there is any problem with these buses that don’t meet the standards, we either return them or don’t pay for them. But I’m convinced that you will get a product that will meet our requirements. But what I’ve seen from the buses, we got a pretty good deal on it. 

Betancourt says the buses need to be equipped with windows that pop out in an emergency. But district employees say they are other hazards, including faulty seatbelts and fuel tanks. Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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