Letter: Smart school bus business practices

I am writing this response to the original letter earlier this week written to The Aspen Times (“Bothered by buses,” Commentary, Sept. 19) and the subsequent letters about the Aspen School District bus picking up students “downvalley.” As director of transportation for the Aspen School District, I do have an explanation for this. First of all, I wished that the writer of the letter called me in Transportation at 970-429-6081 to ask me what we were doing “downvalley.” Had he done that, he would have found out that Aspen School District Transportation is trying to reduce expenses and bring in revenue for the classrooms of this district and not just be an expense to our organization. Just as we have consolidated routes to save money (approximately $8,000 to $12,000 annually), we have begun doing mechanical work on out-of-district buses.

While we were working on the Ross Montessori school bus for them, we rented them one of our buses that we were able to retire because we reduced our routes by one as a result of our route consolidation.

To simply sum it up, we reduced the number of buses that we use on a daily basis by one and also were able to rent it out to bring in revenue while not spending money using it for our routes.

The children that the gentleman saw being picked up were actually Ross Montessori School students being picked up by their driver, who was driving our bus, which was being rented to their school while we worked on their bus. We are trying to reduce costs while increasing revenue — something I have been doing as much as I can in transportation for over 40 years. I think they call it “lean” in today’s business world. I call it plain common sense and darn good business practice.

Gary Vavra

Director of Facilities and Transportation