Thank you for your email. Fluvanna County bus drivers who do not work in one of our schools during the day utilize carpool vehicles between a.m. and p.m. routes to reduce deadhead miles on the buses. Deadhead miles are defined as those miles driven from the place where the bus is parked after the completion of a route to the first student pick-up point of the next route. During the day buses are parked at schools or the bus garage. From these locations drivers who do not hold another staff position in one of our schools travel home or back to where their personal vehicle is parked via carpool. In the evenings buses are parked close to the first student pick-up location, many at the homes of bus drivers or the Lake Monticello campground. This is done not only to reduce bus mileage, but also due to the fact that there is not enough space at our garage complex to house all of our buses on a suitable surface. Drivers are responsible for driving their personal vehicles to their bus in the mornings and afternoons and home from their bus in the evening if the bus is not parked on their property. Carpool vehicles remain at the bus garage or schools at night. 5 of the 6 School Division Efficiency Studies reviewed (Isle of Wight, Lancaster, Louisa, New Kent, and Surry) identified Deadhead Mileage of buses as an area recommended for reduction. The New Kent study specifically recognizes the use of cars and vans to transport bus drivers to their homes or places of employment during the day. In the afternoon the drivers return to the buses in those same vehicles. The Surry study includes a recommendation that they continue to transport bus drivers to and from home during the day, although Surry utilizes buses to accomplish this. In the Louisa study Fluvanna is identified as a comparison school division. Fluvanna had the fewest deadhead miles during the 2002-03 school year at 466 miles, followed by Shenandoah at 44,750 miles, Botetourt at 162,586 miles, Louisa at 200,896 miles, Powhatan at 224,200 miles, and Orange at 317,700 miles. Calculations based on data from the 2007-08 school year show a savings of $50,574 in fuel cost alone based on the cost of gasoline vs. diesel and miles per gallon for cars compared to buses. Additional savings are realized due to routine maintenance costs of cars vs. buses.
I hope that this answers your questions.
Dr. Tom Smith