Knox County Schools improving school bus safety

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)- Students in Knox County are less than a week away from the start of school. Administration has been working all summer to make sure the first day goes smoothly.

That includes students riding the buses. Russ Oaks, chief operating officer for Knox County Schools, says they're estimating about 20,000 students will use the bus system this year.

"We have about 13,000 stops across the county.. those (routes) get tweaked everyday to make them more accommodating to parents," he said.

Right now the are having to rework about 11 routes due to a shortage in drivers.

"The contractor comes to us and says 'I'm short three drivers I can't run these routes' we've got to rerun these routes. So, we are trying different equipment seeing how we can break them up and change the times for the various stops to see how we can get these routes covered.," he said.

His biggest concern is getting the students to school and home safety.

"I want people to understand how seriously we take providing reliable, safe bus transportation for our students. We've changed a lot of things and made some improvements."

Some of those changes include training more than 100 aids to ride the buses to help the driver with the children. They've also installed cameras and radios on the buses.

Parents can expect routes to be adjusted during the first few weeks.

"The transportation department will do some analysis and look at where we expect increases in ridership and develop routes and service plans."

If you're looking for your child's route, you can check it here