REFUGIO – School buses can be a pain.
Refugio school district transportation supervisor Mike Linney would agree.
Linney, 67, who retired Monday. June 3, after 31 years in the position, will attest to bus trouble.
“I work on them, and I drive them,” he said.
“We have had a few breakdowns along the way,” he added.
Linney remembers one time in particular.
“It was a San Diego (Texas) trip. The bus had a flat on the way over there,” he said.
The rear tires on the school buses are duallys, and one of the four rear tires had the blowout.
“I had to take them a bus,” Linney said.
Whenever a bus breaks down, for whatever reason, Linney said another bus will be taken to replace it.
Linney said he drove the replacement bus to outside San Diego some 82 miles or so.
“I exchanged the bus and drove the bus with the flat tire home,” he said.
Linney said breakdowns did not happen too often.
Things were going well for a bit on the way back to Refugio.
“The tire almost came off, driving the bus back,” Linney said.
“All the rubber flew off the tire, but I still had rubber on the other tires,” he said,
So he stopped along the way and had the remaining rubber stripped from the tire.
“I made it home on that tire’s rim,” he said.
Linney said he never had any problems with kids on the bus.
“Basically, on field trips the teachers kept them calm,” he said.
“My job was to drive. I didn’t care what happened in the back,” he said.
Linney said working on the buses was troublesome.
“If it was a Freight Liner, I had to go all the way to Corpus to get parts,” he said.
But if a bus was taken to be fixed, there was a wait.
“One of the buses took a year. The electrical board had burned out on it,” he said.
Not all of the job was unenjoyable.
“I enjoyed working with all the maintenance buddies over there. There’s five of them,” he said.
Linney had to take a 20-hour course and a medical exam to be certified to drive the buses.
“It was pretty rough,” he said.
“They lumped us in with all the drivers,” he said.
Linney reflected that the course and medical exam was back when he was hired in October 1988.
Now, Linney said he will return to something full-time he has done since childhood: repairing engines.
He has Mike’s Small Engine Repair at 707 N. Alamo St.
“I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I also sharpen blades, do engine work on grass trimmers and chain saws,” he said.
Linney admits he loves to tinker with small engines.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have been tearing them down,” he said.
“Over the years, it gets easier and easier,” he added.
Linney grew up in Woodsboro and graduated from Woodsboro High School in 1970. He attended Bee County College for two years.
While in college, he worked for Moore’s Auto Service in Woodsboro.
After college, he worked for Rutherford Oil Field Company and then Zoller Gas Plant on Farm-to-Market Road 774.
Before his transportation supervisor career, he worked for Hunt Energy in Tilden for a couple of years.
Now he looks forward to his small engine repair business and retirement.
As far as buses go, he said, “I’m not going to miss working on them.
Tim Delaney is the Refugio editor at the Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397, or at refugio@mySouTex.com.