Inside look at STA bus dispatch center ahead of Duval County’s first day of school

Employees are preparing for a busy first day for drivers

As Duval County prepares to head back to school, one of the district’s bus contractors is giving us an inside look at how they are preparing for any emergencies or hiccups that may happen.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Duval County prepares to head back to school, one of the district’s bus contractors is giving us an inside look at how they are preparing for any emergencies or hiccups that may happen.

Dispatchers are getting routes and plans in place to make sure the first day of school is smooth from start to finish.

Student Transportation of America’s Area General Manager Pete Conway showed News4Jax around the company’s Westside dispatch center.

“This is what we like to say, where all the magic happens,” said Conway. “These folks do a tremendous job communicating with our drivers, day in and day out, and with Duval county to make sure the students in Duval county are transported safely every day.”

They operate from a small corner at dispatch centers across the county, but Conway said closed quarters don’t affect efficiency.

Dispatchers make sure the entire operation of getting children to and from school remains safe, no matter the issue.

Conway said this dispatch center is extremely important for drivers.

“We can’t overstate or understate the importance of it,” he said. “It is priceless. Without these folks in here communicating, we’d be blind, we wouldn’t see or hear anything. The liaison between the customer, the community, the drivers, the monitors and the children on board the bus.”

Dispatchers are currently finalizing routes, helping drivers prepare for the first day and answering any questions they may have.

Nearly a thousand buses plan to roll out of terminals across Duval County.

“Out of this particular facility, we run over 200 routes. On Day one, we plan to roll out 200 plus buses to service the Westside of Duval County.”

They are making sure that drivers are prepared to take care of DCPS’ most precious cargo.

“Bus drivers are important because, without them, a large portion of our children would not get to school on a daily basis. They are the heartbeat, I like to say, of our school system,” Conway said.

STA just opened a new terminal a few weeks ago to help service students on the Eastside and cut down on the travel times getting kids to and from school.


About the Author:

Amanda DeVoe joined the News4JAX team in March 2022 as a morning news and traffic anchor