New Transportation Director, New Bus Technology for Bay District - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

New Transportation Director, New Bus Technology for Bay District Schools

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Robert Downin speaking with Dr. John Haley, Director of Operational Support Services Robert Downin speaking with Dr. John Haley, Director of Operational Support Services

New Director of Transportation

There's a new director in charge of your child's safety getting to and from Bay County Schools. Robert Downin is getting settled in his new role as Bay District Schools' Director of Transportation.

This week is his first week on the job, but Downin brings more than 15 years of transportation experience to the position. Downin began his career as a school bus driver in Indiana in the mid nineties. From there, he also worked in Louisiana and near-by Santa Rosa County in other school districts and the private sector.

The school board recently looked at privatizing transportation but decided against it. Downin says he'll be able to bring the best of both type operations to the district, But he's happy to be back in a school district, where he feels he can focus on getting students to school safely and on time as efficiently as possible.

"Kids are very anxious about going to school so in order to have a smooth transportation and not add to that, what we try to do so since their first experience is going to be that bus, we want that first experience for them to be as good as it possibly can," said Downin.

New Bus Technology

More than $300,000 of half-cent sales tax money can now be seen on Bay District Schools' buses. The board recently approved to outfit more than 120 buses with a GPS and camera system. The systems were being installed Wednesday morning in dozens of buses.

Each bus has a camera system with four cameras, which monitoring the students, the road, and the driver's area and door. The GPS system records real-time data like the location and driver's actions on the road.

Downin said the district will be able to monitor most aspects of a bus trip and clear up any confusion or questions.

"They don't want bullying. They don't want a driver that's not doing what they should be doing. Now we're able to look at our drivers. If there's any question about our drivers, we'll be able to see exactly what they're doing, see what the kids are doing. I think it's a wonderful investment," said Downin.

The new camera and GPS systems should be ready to go for the first day of school, in a little over a month, August 20th.