Bender, who has driven a school bus in Washington County for the past five years, picks up students from the Funkstown area first and then picks up students from the Emma K. Doub area before dropping them off.
His timing is just about right now, he said, but a high-traffic area in Funkstown is slowing him down enough that he has considered requesting to avoid it in the future.
"We ask them to run the routes as they have them, but they see things that we don't see," Carter said.
He said if a bus driver notices that changing a route layout will save a few minutes, it often will get changed.
"They're our experts," he said.
Kelsey Sprecher, 57, who serves three Williamsport-area schools, said his biggest obstacle at the beginning of the school year usually is getting his bus loads evened out and leveling his passengers' excitability.
The buses can carry up to 65 students, but depending on the age and size of the students they carry, that number is not always attainable, Carter said.
Bus loads are evened out among buses in the first couple weeks of the school year, he said.
About 16,900 students ride buses in the Washington County Public Schools system.
Sprecher, who has been driving school buses for the school system for the past two years, said on the first day, he goes over bus rules but it usually takes a couple of weeks for children to settle down.
"There are very few bad kids, I feel," he said. "But the bad ones want to be good. They just don't know it."
Three times a school year, bus drivers turn in "stop sheets" - forms that indicate whether bus stops need to be taken off routes, usually because students move out of the area and abandon the stop, Carter said.
Over the summer, routes are reviewed and decisions sometimes are made to shift a few of the more than 6,000 county school bus stops to different locations to accommodate the ever-changing moves of students, he said.
Stops cannot always be placed at a student's front door, Carter said. Buses have to stop in a visible location, such as at the top of a hill, where cars in any direction can see them, he said.
Having cars notice buses is a big issue for bus driver Lisa Barnhart. She said that increased traffic this year has brought on a new breed of aggressive drivers, ones who do not always heed her traffic signals.
Barnhart, who drives students from Fountaindale and Maugansville elementary schools and North Hagerstown High School, said when she puts her yellow flashers on, she expects drivers to slow to a stop.
But she said lately she's seen morning drivers in too big of a rush to stop for her signal, a move she said carries a big fine and could cost a child's life.
While trying to keep an eye on boarding or fleeing students, Barnhart also tries to jot down the license plate numbers of those avoiding her stop signs.
"We can put our arms out and tell the kids to wait, but when those red lights come on, they're running," Sprecher said.
Barnhart, who has driven school buses in the county for the past five years, said not stopping for a school bus stop sign carries a $275 fine and adds four points to a violator's license.