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Campaign encourages more students to board buses

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RALEIGH – More than 14,000 school buses take students to and from school every day, and a new campaign is trying to increase ridership even more.

Research shows children are 13 times safer on buses than other forms of transportation. That's why the “Love the Bus” campaign is stressing the importance of getting more students to hop on the bus.

Dylan Skiscim, a fifth grader, has been riding the bus since kindergarten and now encourages others to ride.

“If more kids ride the bus, it will help save gas because more people will ride instead of going in separate cars,” Skiscim said. “It can help save gas and help the environment.”

That is part of the message of the “Love the Bus” campaign. Safety is also another important part.

To help spread awareness, students at Brier Creek Elementary in Raleigh were surprised with a special rider Thursday morning – State Superintendent June Atkinson.

“When I hopped on the bus, I felt the warmth and the smile of the bus driver and it brought back many fond memories,” Atkinson said.

Her memories are filled with appreciation for the bus drivers and what they do. The campaign also recognizes them for their clean driving records.

“In the school bus driver, you have an individual that undergoes more training than any other commercial driver,” Derek Graham, with N.C. Department of Public Instruction Transportation Services, said.

Dylan said riding the school bus isn't all fun. He is ready for the cold February days to be over.

“The hard part is waiting at the bus stop,” Skiscim said.

More than 26 million children in the United States ride the school bus and it is the largest transportation system in the nation.

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