More than 400 drivers signed up to run the buses for ‘Something in the Water’

The school bus cameras are activated when the stop-arm is deployed. The cameras can record images from the front and back of the vehicle passing. (Southside Daily Photo/courtesy of David Tace)
(Southside Daily Photo/courtesy of David Tace)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The school district’s department of transportation reported that more than 400 drivers signed up to be a part of the Something in the Water transportation plan.

The district entered into an agreement with the city to use 70 school buses to assist with transportation needs for the Something in the Water festival happening April 26 to 28.

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“It’s no big deal, we’ve done big ones before,” said David Pace, director of the department of transportation.

He said the bus drivers seemed excited to participate and were eager to sign up.

Seniority will determine who will get to work for overtime pay driving one of the 70 buses that weekend, he added.

Pace estimates the cost for the whole bus operation will be $170,984.

That includes the driver’s salaries, depreciation of the the school buses, operational costs such as fuel and maintenance, payment for support staff and administrative fees, he said.

The bus drivers will be in charge of cleaning the buses at the end of the weekend.

“They are assigned a bus and they take their assignments very seriously,” Pace said. “They are very protective of the children they transport so they wanted to make sure the buses would be free of any contraband or trash before pick-up Monday morning.”

City Council voted to have the buses only run until 7 p.m. Sunday instead of the originally planned 11 p.m.

While City Council seemed to be hesitant to agree to the contract, Pace said he’s not worried.

Bus drivers selected to drive that weekend will be the more seasoned of the bunch, Pace said.

He doesn’t foresee any issues with using school buses and the bus drivers feel comfortable transporting the festival-goers that weekend.

The buses will have cameras running 24/7 inside and there will be a large amount of law enforcement available if any problems do arise, he noted.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve done something like this,” he said.

The buses will stage at the parking lot by Dam Neck Road and General Booth Boulevard to pick people up who have tickets for the festival, Pace said.

Overflow buses will go to Ocean Lakes Elementary and then move to the parking lot as space opens up, he said.

People who want to catch the buses for the festival must go to the parking lot at Dam Neck and General Booth.

To learn more about transportation for the Something in the Water Festival, click here.

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