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China Faces Challenges in Bolstering School Bus Safety
November 20, 2014

A fatal school van crash in China in 2011 confirmed the need for stronger safety measures in transporting students. Industry veterans from the U.S. are sharing their expertise with Chinese counterparts, but the country’s vast population, extreme traffic congestion and other factors present obstacles to implementing an American-style yellow bus system.

Max Christensen and his wife, Lisa, adopted two children from China: Olivia and Isaiah. They are pictured at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
14 Fascinating Personalities in Pupil Transportation
November 14, 2014

A WWII veteran who is still training school bus drivers in his 90s. A mechanic-turned-manager who test-drove a bus to Toad Suck, Arkansas. A state director who used to be a hair stylist. Get the scoop on these and other intriguing school bus people in the return of this popular series.

Family members and friends of school bus driver Jennifer Foughty are pictured here in front of her bus. Foughty died unexpectedly in 2013 at age 39.
6 Helpful Routes to Take When a School Bus Driver Dies
November 5, 2014

What courses of action should a transportation leader follow when a school bus driver dies? Here, a veteran director who recently faced that sad situation shares steps to help staff members, students and the driver’s family deal with their loss.

There has been a noticeable uptick in LED bus light sales recently, according to suppliers. Pictured is an LED unit from TRP Bus Parts.
School Bus LED Benefits Increase as Costs Decrease
October 3, 2014

The price gap between LEDs and incandescent lights has gotten smaller in recent years. With their longer life, higher light output and lower maintenance, LEDs are delivering a great return on investment for school bus operations.

Tags: lighting
Moving from the driver’s seat to the rear exit is one job-related task that may be timed in an agility test. Drivers and a bus monitor are shown here performing a New York physical performance test.
Driver Agility Testing: Variations and Applications Nationwide
October 3, 2014

Where and how agility testing requirements become part of the hiring process varies across the U.S. Here, we take a look at different ways agility tests are used, check in with states using a mandated, formalized test, and report on additional developments in agility test considerations.

Richfield Springs (N.Y.) Central School ensures a safe and equitable prom experience for all students by providing a “yellow limo” for transportation.
Extracurricular Bus Service Provides Safe Access to Learning, Experiences
October 1, 2014

Keeping students safe, simplifying coordination, and equitability are just some of the benefits that running school bus service for extracurricular student activities offers. Strapped districts keep costs down through partnerships and being creative with
their fleets.

The Continental HSR2 features a protective curb rib to increase the durability of the sidewall against abrasions, protecting the casing. The tire also features Continental-engineered VAI technology in the shoulders to alert drivers and fleet managers to early signs of alignment wear.
Tire Offerings Aim to Lower Costs, Enhance Safety
September 15, 2014

Early warning systems for wear-and-tear, and features that extend tire life and improve
drivability in difficult weather conditions, help school bus operators navigate tough roads and handle frequent starts and stops safely and efficiently.

Tags: tires
How to Cut Costs by Mastering Time and Space, Part 2: Zero with an Asterisk
September 11, 2014

Learn how a paratransit service absorbed 16% more passengers with no added cost. The example can be applied to pupil transportation: Optimizing the spatial and temporal relationships of one’s service area can yield big cost savings.
Second in a series of occasional articles

Pre-screening, taking a conversational tone, and picking the right interview team members help find the right fit. iStock image.
Beyond the Resume: 6 Tips for Conducting Effective Interviews
September 9, 2014

Since a resume may not provide vital information, such as whether an applicant is assertive, has a positive attitude and enjoys working with children, interviewing is a critical component of the hiring process. Pre-screening, taking a conversational tone, and picking the right interview team members help find the right fit.

For Gallagher, Commitment to Customer Fuels Great Growth
August 29, 2014

In 17 years, Student Transportation Inc. leader Denis Gallagher has built his company into the third-largest school bus contracting firm in North America. Along the way, he has embraced alternative fuels and new technologies, focused on recruiting good people, and maintained a 95% contract renewal rate.

Post-accident procedure committees and team members typically take pictures of the scene, review related reports and create a plan to prevent future similar incidents.
Post-accident Procedures Committees Key in Prevention
August 13, 2014

Whether using a committee or more informal arrangement, selecting the right members, having procedures in place in advance for determining preventable measures and driver retraining are crucial.  

15 Tips to Boost Efficiency
August 7, 2014

From the bus routes to the shop to the transportation office, there are numerous opportunities to enhance efficiency. Here, directors share innovative ways to run a more cost-effective operation.

istock image © snipes213
Mirrors: Enhancing Safety From All Angles
July 7, 2014

Companies that manufacture rearview mirrors and other products equipped with mirrors are aware of a school bus driver’s need to clearly see multiple areas when transporting students. Today’s offerings feature technology and are designed to improve the driver’s view inside the bus, around the back of the bus, and the driver’s view of the danger zone.

Tags: mirrors
McKinney Sees Longer Bus Life, Diesel Dedication
June 30, 2014

IC Bus President John McKinney says that school buses now have an average life cycle of nearly 15 years, which means that product durability and customer support are especially critical. He also points to diesel as the “backbone of the industry” and discusses the decision to offer the Cummins ISB engine.

Tags: diesel, IC Bus
Blue Bird rallies in Fort Valley, ramps up business
May 30, 2014

Four years after consolidating large bus assembly at its central Georgia headquarters, Blue Bird has boosted efficiency and production capacity, and business is on the upswing. The company’s total sales have increased about 40% from 2012 to 2014, and its propane school bus sales have multiplied.

CDTi’s Purifilter™ EGR diesel particulate filter, an update to the technology on its Purifilter™ model, can now operate at even lower temperatures.
Emission-control technology offers low-maintenance solutions
May 29, 2014

Diesel particulate filters, mufflers and engine pre-heaters help school bus operators keep the air in and around their vehicles clean with minimal maintenance required. Technology upgrades now allow for optimal operation and pre-programmable engine pre-heating in even lower temperatures.

Tags: emissions, EPA
Chesapeake (Va.) Public Schools' buses are equipped with AngelTrax's HC460 four-channel DVR system and three cameras.
Protect your operation with video surveillance
April 22, 2014

False claims made against school bus drivers or other transportation staff have the potential to damage reputations and cause legal problems if a district or bus company is unable to prove what occurred during the incident in question. Equipping buses with cameras and DVRs can offer protection by providing undisputable evidence in these situations and others, such as accidents. Here's a roundup of the technology utilized by operations around the country.

iStock image © TrentVino
How to manage conflict and deal with angry people
April 17, 2014

Employees can express anger and frustration when they feel that their basic needs, such as feeling appreciated and valued, are not being met. Managers and others in leadership roles must listen to gain an understanding of the problem, learn the points of view of those involved and work together with the employees toward a solution.

At First Student, well maintained and safely operated buses lead to a long service life, and Senior Vice President of Commercial Development Roger Moore says maintaining a safe operation also enables the company to retain the best employees.
Contractors see safety as an investment
April 10, 2014

Executives for some of North America's largest school bus companies discuss how allocating resources toward such efforts as driver training and preventive maintenance can benefit the operation by improving safety and employee morale, which, in turn, enhances profitability.

Photo credit: iStock Getty Images
Is a shared transportation director good for your operation?
March 27, 2014

Many factors must be taken into account when considering whether to have one director oversee yellow bus service at two school districts, including the operations’ proximity to one another, the condition of the fleets and the relations among department employees. Patience and support for the shared director are essential to long-term success.

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