FARMINGTON — In his administrative report to the RSU 9 board of directors, Director of Transportation and Custodial Services Richard Joseph Jr. shared on Tuesday, April 9, that he wishes RSU 9 bus driver Bruce Rollins a “speedy recovery” after experiencing unspecified health issues that forced him away from his regular duties to the district.

RSU 9 Director of Transportation and Custodial Services Richard Joseph Jr. shows the board of directors on Tuesday, April 9, one of the handheld devices that RSU 9 bus drivers use to inspect the bus and keep track of students’ movements. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

“One of our own,” Joseph shared with the board, “Mr. Bruce Rollins has been going through an illness and I can’t tell you the support that our team [has shown him.]”

Joseph shared that members of the transportation department have provided meals to Rollins and his family during this time. In his administrative report, Joseph also shared a surprise that was put together for Rollins.

Rollins, who has been driving for the district since 1997, normally drives bus 46. The support staff, with the help of Rollins’ wife, surprised him at Academy Hill School by bringing bus 46 to him.

Joseph called the day “emotional”, and Rollins was presented with gifts, cards and $1,000 in cash. He also shared in his report that Rollins had stated that he missed “his students and driving the bus.”

“We truly miss Bruce,” Joseph stated. “We wish him nothing but the best and a speedy recovery.”


Also in his report, Joseph shared the tools used by the drivers to ensure buses are in safe and working condition. RSU 9 uses Zonar Systems, a GPS tracking system that allows Joseph to keep tabs on all the bus drivers’ movements as they drop the kids off from school.

According to Joseph, the handheld scanner prompts the driver to inspect 11 different sections of the bus, with the verification of the number of students onboard.

“[We are] looking to make sure that we haven’t left any students behind,” Joseph shared.

Through Zonar Systems, Joseph can track a driver’s speed, idle time, and when a student is dropped off along with the location of the drop off point.

“I can tell you whether we go up a road or don’t go down a road,” he said, “and what time we went up a road and what we’re actually doing in real time.”

Director Jeff Barnum of New Vineyard asked Joseph to verify a statement he had heard, which was that RSU 9 has the second longest bus routes among other districts in the state.

“It probably is [accurate],” Joseph said. “I’d say we probably have an average of anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes.”

Joseph also shared in his report that RSU 9 mechanics Eric Jones, Andrew Rothert and Darrick Bryant had managed to fasten a box cargo area onto the bed of a used ambulance, turning the ambulance into a box truck for the maintenance department.

“[There was] a lot of customization combining the two and making adjustments for the liftgate,” Joseph wrote in the report, adding the mechanics service inspects, repairs, does road calls, and drives school buses when needed, with over 81 vehicles in the district.

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