Marianna- Danny Danford, a Jackson County school bus driver, told us a typical day went something like this:
"Wake up at 4 am... Then really wake up with some coffee,” he laughed. “I prepare to be in Marianna by, generally, 5:30 am- 5:45 am, get the bus ready and depart at 6:30 am."
The district’s school buses transport about 4000 students to and from school every day. Danford has been driving the same route for years, and knew the ends and outs of the job.
"The challenges are the traffic surrounding you- the many four way stops in Marianna, and the parents that are trying to pick their children up. We are just isolated. It's not a problem that can be cured overnight.”
Perhaps Danford was right, maybe there was not a cure. But, school officials did come up with a program called Bus Bulletin that could help.
Jackson County Schools Transportation, Risk Management and Safety Director, Rand Ward explained:
"When we find out that a bus is going to be late- it could be that some incident has happened on the route that slowed it down, or it may be that the driver got a late start, or something like that- the driver radios in here to the bus garage. The staff here just goes to the bus bulletin website selects the bus number that's involved and the schools that are being served. There's a drop down menu[on the website] and it can [notify users] if the bus is going to be ten minutes late, fifteen minutes late, thirty minutes late- whatever the case might be.”
Parents who signed up for the free service would then receive the notification on their mobile devices.
"Within about 30 seconds after our office knows, we can send out a notification to parents and administrators via cell phone, email or text message," Ward said.
It was an added tool Danford welcomed on his bus, saying: “I wouldn't turn down anything. Any kind of communication, I welcome."