Student activity bus fails CHP inspection, not in use

A student activity bus purchased by the school during the summer has not been used because it violates California Highway Patrol regulations, according to equipment manager Miguel Acevedo.  The rules require school buses to be yellow.

The bus has been parked beside Ted Slavin Field since the beginning of the school year. The school logo is emblazoned on both sides. It has not moved to transport students to athletic events or rehearsals.

It is likely that the bus will be returned and exchanged for a traditional yellow school bus, both Acevedo and Director of Security Jim Crawford said.

Director of Operations and Constructions James De Matte said the administration was still deciding the fate of the unused bus.

Acevedo called the purchase of the bus “a miscommunication” between the school and the CHP. Prior to acquiring the bus, the school checked with the CHP to see if its use for students was acceptable, Acevedo said. However, the bus did not pass inspection when the CHP returned in late August.

The CHP regulation states that a bus owned by a school to transport minors must be a traditional yellow school bus. A charter bus, like the one purchased by the school, can be used for commercial purposes or if it is the property of a transit company, according to the CHP website.

In the past, the school has contracted CJL Security buses, owned by Crawford, to transport students to and from events.

Acevedo estimated the bus cost in the low six-figures. In order to comply with CHP laws, seatbelts were also installed for each passenger. While a traditional yellow school bus can only drive in the “slow lane” of the freeway, the new bus could travel in the fourth or fifth lane of freeways, providing faster transportation.

“[The school] bought the bus to…serve everyone in the community,” Acevedo said. “It’s really disappointing that we can’t use it.”