Can you spare some change?

Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher
Posted on February 1, 2009

Change is in the air in Washington, as you may have read in the News & Views in this issue.

The question is: Is there any change (and I mean that in more than one sense) available for the nation’s venerable school bus system?

In a recent episode of the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s video blog, NAPTV, Executive Director Mike Martin asked Peter Mannella, an NAPT board member and executive director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, how he would define “change” at the federal level.

“In our own industry, I define ‘change’ as the federal government paying attention to school transportation,” Peter said. “I think there’s an opportunity there for us to present the school bus as a clean, green option for kids.”

Peter makes a great point. With a new administration in Washington, now is a vital time to reach out and promote our industry. And a key way to do this is through the American School Bus Council (ASBC).

The council strives to spread the word about the many benefits of pupil transportation. This has ranged from issuing insightful press releases to coordinating popular events like Love the Bus.

Being composed of all types of industry players — public and private transporters, manufacturers, state directors — part of ASBC’s mission is to “speak with one voice on Capitol Hill.”

Convincing evidence
ASBC recently released an analysis of U.S. pupil transportation in 2008. The findings are powerful, and they should send a clear message to anyone who fails to realize the importance of school buses. Here are some highlights:

  • 36: the average number of cars that would be needed to transport students currently riding one school bus
  • 17.3 million: the total number of cars that would be needed to transport students currently riding all school buses
  • 822 million gallons per year: the total fuel used by school buses
  • $3.4 billion per year: the total cost of fuel used by school buses
  • 3.1 billion gallons per year: the total fuel for cars replaced by school buses
  • $11.4 billion per year: the cost of fuel for cars replaced by school buses Can’t live without it
    What all of this boils down to is that about $8 billion in fuel costs is saved in the U.S. by children riding school buses. Then there’s the savings in time and car wear-and-tear for parents, and the reduction of cars on the road. And, of course, students are far safer riding a school bus than they are traveling to and from school any other way.

    With the economy in dire conditions, state and local funding for pupil transportation could take big hits. But, as the numbers above show, the nation can’t afford to have its school bus system diminished.

    If the Obama administration is looking for a solid investment for federal funds, it should target pupil transportation. That’s a change that’s long overdue.


  • Comments ( 0 )
    More Stories

    Mother Gets Probation for Assaulting School Bus Driver

    Kiesha Shannon of Ohio pleads guilty to attacking her daughter’s bus driver and is sentenced to three years of probation. The judge says he had limited sentencing options, which is why he didn’t give her jail time.


    Portable Child Restraint

    HSM Transportation Solutions’ C.E. White Portable Child Restraint for school buses, a five-point restraint system, is designed to accommodate children weighing 20 to 90 pounds and up to 57 inches in height.


    2-Camera System

    The DS2 is a two-camera vehicle event recording system that combines high-definition video recording, fleet telematics, and vehicle operating data on one screen for better incident review and driver coaching.

    As Maryland’s new state director of pupil transportation, Gabriel Rose (seen here) replaces Leon Langley, who stepped down from the position in July.

    New State Director Named in Maryland

    Gabriel Rose, who previously served as a security specialist for Talbot County (Md.) Public Schools, replaces Leon Langley as state director.

    Be the First to Know

    Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!