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6 new products to streamline the school bus shop
March 18, 2014

Offerings help make cleaning and refurbishment easier, boost fuel efficiency, and organize jobs and tasks.

Mohawk Lifts’ TR 25 drive-on lift offers 6 feet of unrestricted under-vehicle access, leaving plenty of space available for technicians to complete brake jobs and other maintenance.
Vehicle lifts that promote shop safety, productivity
March 11, 2014

Features such as mechanical locks, remote control, LED lighting and lighter weights for more portability make servicing buses even safer and more efficient.

5 incidents that never should have happened
March 7, 2014

While each of these occurrences involved children being stranded on a school bus, there are unusual — and in some cases even shocking — details in the different stories that are worth reviewing.

Pictured is the DEF fill point on a Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner HDX school bus.Photo courtesy of Thomas Built Buses
Web exclusive: Getting the most out of DEF
March 6, 2014

Understanding some basic facts about diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), such as its freezing point, the importance of using high-quality DEF and keeping it clean, and proper storage procedures, will go a long way in its efficiency in a selective catalytic reduction system.

Tags: emissions, EPA
Pete Meslin (in the blue shirt and wearing a tie), director of transportation at California’s Newport-Mesa Unified School District, is pictured with current and former school board members and transportation department personnel at a bus driver appreciation event.
5 ways to gain support from school boards
March 4, 2014

With funding for pupil transportation tight, those providing the service must show board members its value. District and bus company officials share tips that can help in getting this group of individuals to become advocates for the yellow bus, from making yourself visible and available to sharing positive stories about your operation.

Web exclusive: More on gaining support from school boards
March 4, 2014

In our March 2014 issue, officials at school districts and bus companies offer tips that can help in getting school board members to become advocates for the yellow bus. Here are a few more tips, as well as insight on efforts at operations that have been successful in establishing positive relations with school board members on specific issues.

Photo by Katrina Falk
How to cut costs by mastering time and space, part 1
February 28, 2014

Manipulating time and space to optimize system design sets a foundation for efficiency in special-education transportation. Here is an introduction to the concept — and three examples in which its application could have saved countless dollars.

Parkway School District bus driver Chuck Deem (left) and technician Ben Thompson inspect a crossing arm. Will Rosa, director of transportation for the Missouri district, says that drivers and technicians at his operation have been successful at not buying into the notion that each group doesn’t do their job thoroughly or correctly, and they “channel their energy toward the problem, not the person.”
Mutual respect strengthens driver-technician relations
February 25, 2014

Clear communication is also essential to a solid working relationship between these groups of employees. In-service or safety meetings provide an opportunity for growth in these areas by allowing drivers to learn about their buses and ask the techs questions. Drivers must also be proactive in reporting maintenance concerns.

Kids know good drivers
February 20, 2014

Surely most children aren’t aware of all the specific requirements. But they do seem to understand that being a school bus driver is a tough job that not everyone is cut out for.

NAPT News & Views — New board members describe themselves in 3 words
February 18, 2014

To shed some light on the personalities who make up the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) board of directors, the association is conducting a series of board member profiles. In this edition, we hear from Dwight Gleaves, the association’s new affiliate member director, and Steve Kalmes, who recently began a term as Region 5 director for NAPT and is a past president of the association.

Tags: NAPT
New improvements to Rifled’s BH series evaporators include a four-hole drain pan. Pictured is the BH-20.
A/c units keep current with cooling needs
February 13, 2014

Trends in school bus air-conditioning systems include increased demand for bulkhead evaporators and rooftop units, officials say. Here’s a look at key features in the latest cooling technology.

Don Carnahan’s second term as NAPT president began in October. The first was 1997-99. Photo by Jaime Gallego.
Rising costs, security and bus eligibility cuts are key issues
February 11, 2014

Having held a variety of leadership roles in the industry, Don Carnahan brings diverse insight to his second term as president of NAPT. Here, he shares his perspectives on changes and challenges in pupil transportation.

Tags: NAPT
Walla Walla (Wash.) School District is the host district for the Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative. The cooperative only charges $45 an hour for labor, compared with hourly rates at large vehicle repair shops in the area, which can run up to $115.
Cooperative helps districts save money, time
February 6, 2014

Walla Walla (Wash.) School District won matching funds from the state to obtain funds for a facility to support a cooperative that serves three school district transportation departments, and it hasn’t cost taxpayers additional tax dollars. The Southeast Washington Transportation Cooperative provides vehicle maintenance at a fraction of the cost of local shops as well as a driver training program that saves districts staff and time.

Darryl Hofstra has been Forest Hills Public Schools’ supervisor of transportation since 2004, a role he’s proud to hold. He says it is a premier district in the Grand Rapids area and in the state of Michigan.
Team stays proactive to maintain safe service
February 4, 2014

From its school bus maintenance to its driver training, the transportation employees at Forest Hills Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., look ahead and analyze information to identify potential problems or areas that need improvement.

NAPT News & Views — Response to NTSB's recommendations
January 23, 2014

We believe our response to NTSB’s recommendations documents a position that seeks the clarity and facts your community and state policymakers demand when making important decisions affecting school bus operations.

Karam, the director of transportation at Bethlehem Central School District in Delmar, N.Y., has long utilized key performance indicators at his operation, which have led to increased efficiency and a reduction in costs. The department saved about $900,000 for the 2012-13 school year.
Alfred Karam named SBF's Administrator of the Year
January 21, 2014

The director of transportation at Bethlehem Central School District in Delmar, N.Y., has adopted a businesslike approach to running the transportation department, while also focusing on student safety. The transportation team was able to reduce its overall transportation budget by about $900,000 for the 2012-13 school year, and tracking key performance indicators has increased efficiency.

NAPT trade show: buses, components and more
January 14, 2014

New offerings that were on view and introduced during the show in Grand Rapids, Mich., include an all-electric school bus, a wheelchair retractor tie-down system, heater kits, LED lights and fleet management solutions.

To comply with the new voluntary industry standard known as WC18, wheelchair tiedowns or other securement devices must pass two different dynamic strength tests.
New standards target stronger wheelchair tie-downs, increased passenger safety
January 14, 2014

New safety standards for wheelchairs and tie-downs promise to improve transportation safety for people who must use their wheelchair as the passenger seat when riding in a car, van or bus. Here’s an overview of the WC18 and WC19 standards and the enhanced testing they require.

Contractors target top issues for 2014
January 13, 2014

NSTA President Tim Flood points to the challenges of a regulatory environment that he says could hinder the efficiency of contractors’ operations and increase driver shortages.

Tags: NSTA
Positive experiences with seat belts
January 13, 2014

In the debate on whether seat belts are a good fit for large school buses, it seems that the best insight comes from those who actually have experience with the restraints in their fleet. SBF Executive Editor Thomas McMahon hit the road in November to visit Buellton USD and another district in Santa Barbara County, Goleta USD. Both had interesting perspectives to share about their fleets and the environments in which they operate.

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