MythBusters: HISD Buses

MYTH: Old, unsafe Carpenter school buses are being used to transport HISD students to and from school.

FACT: HISD no longer uses Carpenter school buses.

In 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an advisory about Carpenter school buses, warning that the roof could cave in should the bus overturn. As a result, HISD removed about 525 Carpenter buses from the fleet at that time.

Because of a difference in construction techniques, Crown by Carpenter school buses were excluded from the advisory. HISD still has in its fleet roughly 41 Crown by Carpenter buses, which have been in use since 2003. There is no safety concern regarding these Crown by Carpenter buses.

At any given time, HISD’s goal is to have 100 to 120 spare school buses on standby to serve as substitutes should there be a mechanical breakdown, accident or manufacturer recall with a bus assigned to morning and afternoon routes.

On Friday, HISD had only 87 spare buses available. Rarely does the district use more than 30 spare buses on a given day. But to ensure we were adequately prepared, the district pulled 13 Crown by Carpenter buses from storage and began prepping them so they would be ready should an emergency arise.

These 13 buses — like all spare buses — are not assigned to routes. Rather, they are used only as emergency substitutes. There are no safety concerns with these buses, and every HISD bus must pass a rigorous inspection before it is placed into operation.

HISD is scheduled to replenish its fleet with the arrival of 44 new school buses in December.