ALBANY, N.Y. — In a letter to members of the State Assembly and Senate, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) has called for the defeat of legislation that would allow for the placement of advertisements on yellow school buses.
"The school bus is known by all Americans in its National School Bus Chrome, or yellow, coloring,” NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella said. “That color was specifically selected for its uniqueness as well as for its visibility. To compromise the integrity and familiarity of that iconic color is simply wrong and presents safety risks to our children."
The association is opposing S. 3229-A by Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) and A. 7701 by Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-E. Setauket), which would amend the state's education law so that "any school district in the state may enter into a contract for the sale of advertising space on the exterior sides of school buses owned or leased by the school district."
In its letter to the Senate and Assembly, NYAPT asserted that the safety of children riding school buses must remain paramount over the current struggle to identify new financial resources. In addition to its concern over compromising the uniform color of the school bus, NYAPT said it is concerned about the impact that advertisements could have on protecting children from passing motorists.
"We have a problem in our state with thousands of motorists passing our school buses illegally every day,” the association wrote. “We are concerned that motorists will be even more distracted by advertisements on the school buses and we will see an increase in illegal passing. No amount of revenues will protect a child from a passing vehicle."
NYAPT also expressed its concern that children may take unnecessary risks in boarding the school bus if they are distracted by ads on the side of the bus. “Many of our younger children are easily distracted, and having an ad for cereal or sneakers or TV shows in front of them can only increase that distraction."
NYAPT President David Christopher, director of transportation at Shenendehowa Central Schools in Clifton Park, noted that New York passed legislation in the late 1990s that prohibits ads on school buses.
“We supported passage of that law, and we strongly oppose this legislation,” Christopher said. “We know that our schools — the schools where we work — are struggling to keep pace with increasing costs and decreasing revenues. However, we do not believe that placing ads on our yellow school buses is an appropriate answer to those problems."