Etcetera - 8/7/13

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The wheels on the bus go round and round because, as Walla Walla School District Transportation Director Steve Olson said, “The guys are keeping the fleet in great shape.”

So much so, that the bus and van fleet scored 100 percent in the Washington State Patrol’s annual inspection.

The buses are serviced through the Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative, which offers the Walla Walla Public Schools, Prescott and Dixie member school districts discounted school bus maintenance and repair service, according to an item in the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review online newsletter.

State Patrol inspectors looked at the operating equipment, including lights, brakes, tires and all safety-related components of the vehicles during the extensive inspection process.

“The cooperative saves taxpayers money, improves school bus safety and extends school bus life.” Steve said.

The cooperative also provides school bus inspection support, bus driver professional development, school bus preventative maintenance and record keeping services.

The data shows how taxpayers are reaping the benefits of this cooperative.

Shop rates for partner districts are $45 per hour.

The average vendor shop rate is $90 to $105 per hour.

The Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative buys diesel fuel in bulk at nearly 20 cents less per gallon than retail.

This saves taxpayers on average nearly $10,000 per year in fuel costs.

A variety of oil, fuel and air filters are used and cooperative costs average 60 to 80 percent below retail prices. Coolant is purchased for 90 percent below retail costs.

The Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative is located at 1162 Entley St., near Koncrete Industries.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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