MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Thursday was a big day for the 220 school bus drivers of Madison County. They call it "bus turnout."
“All our drivers in Madison County, they come and get their buses," explained transportation supervisor Eddie McCord.
The bus lot that's sat untouched through the summer months is now full of drivers checking out their buses, signing them out, and driving them away.
“It’s amazing how many drivers, aids, mechanics, to make all this work," McCord said.
Bus drivers are carpooled to the lot the week before school starts to make sure their bus is running smoothly.
Stan McFarland has been driving his bus for four years and is excited to be back on his route.
“I've missed them all summer," he said. "I’ve had some that teared up and cried whenever they’re not going to be in school for spring break or whatever the reason is.”
When asked why he does it there’s no hesitation.
“Seeing the little kids that get on the bus, and welcoming them, and just maybe I could say something that could make their day go better," McFarland said.
Before school starts, all bus drivers will meet up again to take a class to review safety procedures, bus routes, and all the logistics of getting back on the road with their students.
“I’m always reminding them about the safety rules, and what the safety rules are throughout the whole year," McFarland said of sharing safety lessons with his student riders.
As bus drivers are preparing to be back on the road, McFarland also wants to share a message with other drivers on the road: to pay attention to school bus traffic signs and signals.
"You'd be amazed how many people pass the bus when we're stopped with the sign out," he said. "They just don't think about it, they go flying past you, and it could be a kid right there that gets hit."