Bus Issues Cause Problems For Local School Districts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With the wind chills easing a bit, most schools tried to get by with a two-hour delay Wednesday morning.

However, the cold still had an effect on many buses, which has led to some cancellations.

The problem is the diesel fuel some of the buses use. With temperatures this cold, the fuel is gelling before it gets to the engine, which forces the buses to shut down.

As a result, buses stayed put today at the Monark Student Transportation in Gibsonia.

“Unfortunately, when they’re running, even sitting in the parking lot, they’ll shut down,” Mark Schmitt said.

When the temperature drops even to the single digits, there can be problems with the diesel buses. They use an ultra-low-sulfer fuel and it can thicken without any warning, causing the buses to break down.

“With the ultra-low sulfer fuel, the fuel gels. It gels in the fuel system and shuts the vehicles down,” Schmitt said.

With temperatures well below zero with the wind chill, the concern was this would happen with a busload of kids on board.

“We try to err on the side of caution. We made the recommendation to cancel school and I feel like 100 percent like it was the right thing to do,” Schmitt said.

Monark services Pine Richland, West Allegheny, Quaker Valley, North Catholic and the City of Pittsburgh and decided to take their recommendation and close school today.

“There’s no way to determine when it’s going to happen,” Schmitt said.

It wasn’t just Monark that was experiencing this problem.

Pittsburgh Public Schools uses over a dozen different companies to transport students and the fuel problem was felt across the board.

Monark is expecting a smooth ride tomorrow and is not anticipating any problems.


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