Chesapeake school district prepares its buses amidst fuel disruption

Chesapeake school bus
Posted at 2:59 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 16:52:40-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – With many drivers rushing out to fill up their gas tank, some may be wondering how it will affect businesses and even schools.

News 3 talked with David Benson, Director of Transportation for Chesapeake City Public Schools, to see if they anticipate the Colonial Pipeline disruption will affect their bus routes. Benson says they are prepared.

“When we reached out to our vendor, they assured us that they would make every effort to get additional loads sent to those locations,” said Benson, who was referring to the commercial sites located across Chesapeake where bus drivers fuel up the buses with diesel. “So as far as diesel is concerned, we wouldn’t have as much to worry about. We may wait in line a little bit longer, but we shouldn’t have issues with our buses not being able to get fuel at this point.”

News 3 stopped at one of those public gas stations near Centerville Turnpike on Wednesday afternoon and found there was no unleaded gas, but the station did have diesel.

Benson also stated that they’ve been in contact with their vendor and said they’ve promised to bring fuel to the bus storage facility should they need it. He said that could be as soon as Wednesday, and that it could help if some bus drivers are finding long lines at the pumps.

Chesapeake Public Schools has 591 buses, including two electric ones that are not in use just yet because they are new ones that still require training. Benson said their buses have 100-gallon tanks and typically fill up every two to three days. He also stated it is standard procedure that drivers not let the bus get below ¼ tank.

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"We never want a bus to be so they can’t complete a days’ run with the amount of fuel they have in there,” commented Benson. “So, we weren’t quite as panicked when we heard that we couldn’t get to the pump today because we typically have our drivers keep a days’ worth of fuel, anyway.”

A spokesperson for Virginia Beach Public Schools said they have not had any issues as of early Wednesday afternoon with their buses and fuel. They expect to be fine through the end of the week. That is when experts say the pipeline is expected to resume most of its operations.