MERRIAM, Kan. -- The start of the school year is just around the corner.
Students who attend Shawnee Mission Schools will have a brand new means of riding the bus to school. Bonner Springs-based DS Bus Lines takes over the bus routes within that district, having signed a five-year contract earlier this year. DS Bus Lines replaces First Student as the district's transportation provider.
It's a long process, inspecting 210 school buses, just weeks before the 2017-18 school year begins. An army of officers from the Kansas Highway Patrol conducted their annual school bus inspection session for the Shawnee Mission School District.
Over a two-hour period on Thursday morning, buses would roll into the district's inspection garage, as state troopers worked them over, checking every thing from turn signals on the outside to safety devices on the interior.
"We take it very seriously because we want our kids to be safe," Kansas Highway Patrol Trp. Candice Breshears said.
Trp. Breshears says the inspections are worth it. Buses aren't permitted to hit the road until they're up to snuff.
"We want our kids and your kids to be safe when they're traveling to school. These school buses are carrying our children, and they're the future. We want them to be as safe as possible as they're going to school," Trp. Breshears told FOX 4 News.
DS Bus Lines comes into Shawnee Mission Schools, having served as transportation provider in other local districts. Rick Atha, an assistant superintendent with the district, told FOX 4 News First Student had a tendency to pick up and deliver students late as they went to and from school. Published reports indicate nearly 600 complaints filed with the school system concerning First Student during the most recent school year, most of which were critical of First Student's tardiness.
"Our fleet that we're using here in Shawnee Mission, 90 percent will be brand new equipment," Dale Bohn, a vice-president with DS Bus Lines, said on Thursday morning.
Bohn, who says he attended school within the Shawnee Mission School District, says safety and on-time deliveries will be a priority.
"We have a great reputation of providing a great service, and on-time service. We look forward to providing that service here in Shawnee Mission," Bohn said.
Bohn told FOX News safety has always been a priority for his company's drivers, and that won't change here in Shawnee Mission. They'll get their first test when the school year begins for elementary school students on August 11th.