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How do you communicate with your team?
March 17, 2014
When I have spoken with pupil transportation professionals, they have relayed to me the importance of communicating with their staff on all aspects of the operation that affect their jobs in order to safely transport students to and from school. Michael Shields of Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Salem, Ore., has frequent meetings with his staff ...
After a car crashed into his bus, John Horton noted some interesting reactions from his young passengers. Photo by Franktown Fire Protection District
How kids react to a school bus crash
March 7, 2014
After a car crashed into his bus, John Horton noted some interesting reactions from his young passengers. For example, a second-grader asked, “Why was there no explosion?” The next morning, as Horton and his passengers were approaching the intersection where the accident occurred …
Kids know good drivers
February 20, 2014
Do kids know what it takes to be a school bus driver? Surely most children aren’t aware of all the specific requirements: the training, the background checks, the testing, etc. But they do seem to understand that being a school bus driver is a tough job that …
School bus memorabilia: What’s in your collection?
February 6, 2014
An aspect of our readers’ enthusiasm for school buses that I find interesting is that many have extensive collections of school bus-related memorabilia. A particularly impressive collection belongs to ...
What’s your favorite school bus?
January 24, 2014
One thing I learned quickly when I joined SBF seven years ago is that not only are our readers passionate about transporting students safely, many of them are passionate about school buses in general.
School bus contractors target top issues for 2014
January 10, 2014
As contractors gather for NSTA's Midwinter Meeting, they will discuss a plethora of pressing issues. We asked several executives what they see as the top issues for the new year. 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. ...
Top 5 most commented-on posts of 2013
December 30, 2013
As 2013 draws to a close, here's a recap of five blog posts this year that drew the most engagement from our followers.
This display on a retired North Carolina school bus shows the progression of school bus seats over the past 60 years.
Innovative display shows 60 years of school bus seats
December 12, 2013
Those who work in pupil transportation know that the yellow school bus has changed immensely in the past half century, and that includes the seats. To educate the public on how much school bus seats have changed and safety has increased, a group of pupil transportation people in North Carolina put together a fascinating exhibit. ...
School buses: life after shuttling students
November 25, 2013
On my drive home, a vehicle that’s caught my eye on numerous occasions is a Crown school bus that I’m fairly certain is someone’s personal vehicle: emblazoned on the sides and back of the bus are the words “COOL BUS.” Have you come across any retired school buses that are now used for a new purpose?
Positive experiences with seat belts
November 18, 2013
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. Casey Cypert is one such person. He has observed the effects of lap-shoulder belts on his district's route bus for the past five years. ...
Conference dispatch: postcards from Grand Rapids
October 28, 2013
Last week, industry officials convened in Grand Rapids, Mich., for the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) and National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) annual conferences. Here are a handful of shots we editors captured on camera of conference events and sights around the host city.
Thinking outside the bus
October 16, 2013
Many districts have turned to alternative transportation — vans, taxis and other vehicles — to supplement traditional school bus service in certain situations. But in the school bus industry, which has built an unparalleled safety record with its thorough driver requirements and strict vehicle construction standards, the thought of stepping outside of the school bus is disconcerting for many. ...
Crossing guards at school bus stops?
October 14, 2013
What if you could have a crossing guard at every school bus stop where young students cross the street? And what if you didn’t have to pay anything extra for this crossing guard service, other than maybe $20 apiece for hand-held stop signs? With an adult guiding them across the street, the youngsters would ...
Why the future of contracting looks bright
October 11, 2013
A look at effective strategies that some school bus contractors are employing, such as developing new marketing approaches, empowering local managers and establishing a distinct, consistent brand across the company.
Yellow bus laws: Is driver's ed doing enough?
September 27, 2013
I’ve often asked myself why you should have to educate the public on school bus safety laws. I’ve always believed it’s something that people should learn in driver’s education class.
How did you become a school transportation manager?
September 23, 2013
We have heard both sides of the coin: Working as a school bus driver first and making your way up the ranks gives you invaluable experience and perspective as a director or manager of transportation. Others have said that working in management in other fields gives you a lot to bring to the table in an administrative position at a pupil transportation operation. Which of these situations applies to you?
A tribute to the school bus builders
August 22, 2013
It’s not just what the plant staff members do; it’s how they do it. There seems to be a great sense of pride and fulfillment in their work. Indeed, they’re building one of the safest vehicles on the road — a vehicle that millions of schoolchildren rely on to get ...
Pros and cons of starting school before Labor Day
August 15, 2013
With the 2013-14 school year started for many people, I am reminded of my own days in school. When I was a kid, we started after Labor Day. In doing research on why the school year starts so early, I came across information on both the benefits and drawbacks of a pre-Labor Day start date.
Don't make driver the scapegoat in school bus attack
August 9, 2013
The horrific beating of a 13-year-old school bus passenger by three 15-year-olds has sparked heated media coverage recently. It seems that most of the ire has been aimed at the bus driver, with many observers suggesting that he should have done more to help the victim. The uproar raises a few nagging questions in my mind. ...
More insight on safe bus stops
July 26, 2013
In the August 2013 issue of SBF, I wrote a feature titled “Tips and Tools to Select Safe Stops,” where pupil transportation officials from operations around the country shared with me various components to ensuring that their bus stop locations are safe for students. Here, I’ll share with you some of their tips and insight that didn’t make it into the feature.

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