Return to Headlines

Columbus City Schools Bus Drivers Get Ready to Roll

June 10, 2021 -- "Who wants to play the role of the child and who wants to be the driver?" Tamika Nallie asked the group of CCS bus driver. “Don’t be shy,” she added. “Everybody will have a chance to practice how the chair lift works before you leave here today.”

Tamika Nallie, a child care attendant for the CCS Office of Transportation, was one of several people helping District bus drivers with this wheelchair lift training session. After some classroom instruction, the 20 bus drivers headed out into the Fort Hayes Bus Compound. Today is all about making sure bus drivers are prepared for the first day of summer classes this Monday, June 14. 

“The buses have been inspected, are clean, and ready to go,” said Gary Bright, Transportation Operations Manager. 

Before those yellow school buses start rolling, bus drivers are learning the standard procedures for operating the wheelchair lift, including the role of the bus driver and the aide.

“This is so needed,” said Margie Binion, who’s been driving a bus for CCS for nine years. “Safety is so important when transporting children. Since this is summer, this is a different route for me, and I need to be prepared.”

This training session divided Binion and the other bus drivers into two different groups. Using two buses, the drivers practiced with power and manual wheelchairs. 

“Where is the aide?” asked one of the trainers. “On the bus at all times,'' answered another instructor. Neither the aide nor the driver rides on the lift; only the child and their chair are on the lift.” 

“When it comes to safety, everyone is responsible,” said Michelle Brooks, Fort Hayes Bus Compound Supervisor. “This group training is helpful not only because everyone gets a turn practicing, but the repetition helps the drivers learn from each other, so they master the skill and commit it to memory.”

In addition to this training session, the District’s bus drivers also spent two days driving their routes. Beginning this Monday, the first day of the 2021 CCS Summer Experience, bus drivers will be transporting thousands of CCS students to 13 elementary schools, nine middle schools, four high schools, and Spruce Run, the District’s Nature Center.