By on February 29, 2008

school_bus_exhaust.jpg I live in a town of around 8,000 people. Yesterday afternoon, I happened to be driving to the gym at the same time as middle school let out. Some shop teacher stopped traffic while four dozen hulking Bluebirds (company owned by Cerberus BTW) poured out of the school's driveway, each of them carrying perhaps FIVE KIDS. The noise and pollution and tsuris was the equivalent of a thousand-plane raid on Hamburg. Meanwhile, the same thing was happening at the high school and elementary school. Our town must put 150 dieseling buses out onto the road every afternoon, assuring that no tyke will have to spend more than 15 minutes en route. To say nothing of the traffic backup behind each yellow monster while they disgorge their cute little backpackers. I'm the treasurer of our local volunteer ambulance corps. I'm always amused by how municipal-supplier vendors work everything out to round numbers. "You want some EMS unifoms? How's $10k sound?" "You want a fleet of school buses to pick up your kids? That'll be $10m a year." (If you want to get rich quick, contract with municipalities: nobody gives a shit what you charge.) I'm going to take this up with the school board, but the spectacle of this Eighth Air Force-size fleet of big yellow smoke-spewers thundering north, south, east and west just stunned me.

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18 Comments on “Wilkinson: Yellow Bus Meshugas...”


  • avatar
    quasimondo

    But the buses are diesel! And the kids are using mass transit! What’s there not to like about the Twinkie Express?

  • avatar
    shaker

    What’s black and yellow and stinks?

    No, it’s a rotten banana, you silly!

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    @quasimondo:
    Don’t dis diesel! Not all oil burners are created equally…

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    So why don’t those buses have DPF systems?

    Ah, it’s because the USA just introduced low-suplphur diesel fuel…

  • avatar
    frontline

    No seat belts for the children??

  • avatar
    mistercopacetic

    Is it any better than a hundred SUVs lining up in the kiss-and-ride lane, with one parent behind the wheel, idling for half an hour waiting for the kids to come out?

  • avatar
    tdoyle

    Here in Tennessee, after living in California, I have to ask myself… Why do they put those blinking white beacons on the top of school buses in the South.

    I mean, I know it is a safety issue, but how big is a school bus? Like three pickup trucks long!

    How tall is a school bus? About 10 feet tall or more.

    What color is a school bus? It is frickin yellow. How can you not see a school bus? I dunno, maybe I am alone here…

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    Wow! In my town of about 8000 people, we run a fleet of 8 yellow busses on a rotating schedule. And there are big signs at the schools requiring NO IDLING (by busses or cars), and it gets enforced,too. Even in winter.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Here in Tennessee, after living in California, I have to ask myself… Why do they put those blinking white beacons on the top of school buses in the South.

    Those blinking white beacons are a godsend. Many times in the youth of my high school days I would find my self running like a track star to catch a bus that I would’ve missed had I not seen the flashing beacon over the fences and hedges in my neighborhood.

    And if I missed the bus, that would’ve sucked because that meant a 2 1/2 mile walk to school.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I’m calling the Yiddish spelling police.

  • avatar

    tdoyle
    Here in Tennessee, after living in California, I have to ask myself… Why do they put those blinking white beacons on the top of school buses in the South.

    It makes them much easier to see when there’s a heavy morning fog out, or when daylight saving time goes into effect and the kids are standing out in the dark looking for the bus, or when there’s a frog-strangler rain in progress, or any other number of visibility-limiting situations. Plus it makes it easier to know there’s a school bus in the vicinity so there may be kids running around and crossing the road.

  • avatar
    miked

    I’ve always wondered how much it cost a district to buy a school bus. I’m sure they overpay for them. Why are kids riding around in what amounts to basically a Medium Duty truck with bench seats. It probably would be cheaper, cleaner, safer, more comfortable if school districts bought mass-transit style buses, like the new GM Diesel Electric Hybrid that I’ve seen a bunch of lately.

  • avatar
    frontline

    I am so with you Miked. Do school buses need to unload at loading docks? If not , why the extra height? . Could you imagine boncing around un-tethered in a school bus during accident? What am I missing?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Misegos” should be meshugas.

    The root word meshuge (meaning crazy, insane; משוגע if you have the correct font, mem shin vav gimel aiyn if you don’t) is originally Hebrew, but was used in Yiddish. Yiddish is a German dialect, originally spoken by the Ashkenazi Jews (Ashkenazi is a Hebrew word that means German), which was written with the Hebrew alphabet. There is no official system for transliterating Yiddish into Latin Alphabet for English speakers.

    The most common transliteration of the root word is meshuge, although meshugge is not uncommon. The word is not pronounced mes’huge; the sh is a digraph as in shoe or ship, the g is hard, as in gas or grim.

    Meshugas (craziness, insanity; משוגעת, if you have the correct font or mem shin vav gimel aiyn tav if you don’t) is often transliterated mishegas or -goss or -gaas, but the second consonant is always a shin not a sin, so it must be sh. I think the second vowel often morphs into an e because the syllable looses stress when the extra consonant is added at the end, but it should be u. the last vowel is variable, but I would prefer an a to an o.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    More importantly, why is the exhaust pipe on these things at ground level?

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Several weeks ago a bus was hit broad side killing 4 students. The driver was a 23 year old illegal imigrant . She ran the stop sign at a T intersection!! She was driving a van, and suffered just a broken leg.

  • avatar

    Robert Schwartz :

    “Misegos” should be meshugas.

    Headline amended.

    Tx.

  • avatar
    shiney

    I suspect that a medium duty truck chassis is much cheaper to buy and repair than a specialized city bus platform. A specialized bus frame and body is a complex and expensive thing to design and build, and not sold in anything close to medium duty truck volumes. While municipalities can and often do pay a premium for quality buses, most school districts lack that kind of money and have other under funded priorities that supersede buses in their budgets.


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