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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.
The right way to make a left
July 19, 2013
There’s no good way around it: We have to turn left sometimes, often without the “protection” of a solid green arrow. For school bus drivers, training to “perfect the art” of knowing the bus and how to steer it will allow them to focus on watching out for objects in the intersection. ...
Coming back from tragedy
July 8, 2013
A big step was recently made on the road to recovery at Alabama's Dale County Schools following the death of bus driver Charles Poland: a new driver has been assigned to his former route. The Dothan Eagle reports that Melinda Campbell has connected with Poland's passengers by talking about him. This got me thinking about how pupil transportation operations cope with tragedy.
Helped after hurricane, now helping tornado victims
June 21, 2013
By and large, people who work in pupil transportation do what they do because they care about kids. Likewise, I'm convinced that most folks who work in pupil transportation also care about people in general. That came to mind when I heard about what pupil transporters in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., are doing. ...
I took the wheel of a yellow bus
June 14, 2013
My jaunt took place at BusWest, a Thomas Built Buses dealership in Carson, Calif., and I drove a Saf-T-Liner C2 unit. Driving a school bus was a goal that we at SBF set so that I could get a better sense of what school bus drivers face on a daily basis in terms of maneuvering such a large vehicle on the road.
Does your operation bus students to prom?
June 7, 2013
I recently read a story from the Ridgefield Park Patriot about a New Jersey high school that has specific transportation requirements in order for students to attend their prom. The board of education requires students to take a school-vetted coach bus service that is paid for by the board if they want to attend prom. This is the first I’ve heard of such a policy, and I’m curious to know if it’s commonplace.
What’s the top trait of driver trainers?
May 20, 2013
Patience. In a recent survey, that was the most common answer to the question above. One survey respondent explained it as “patience when teaching; not everyone learns the same way.” The second most common response ...
What’s in store for you this summer?
May 10, 2013
I find that I tend to have at least a little more time during the summer months to work on goals for the magazine and our website beyond my usual tasks that are sometimes a challenge to fit into my days during the early and latter parts of the year. With summer just around the corner, I’m curious to read about how the summer months stack up for you, both professionally and personally.
Soothing smells on the school bus?
April 26, 2013
In an unusual ad campaign in South Korea, the smell of Dunkin' Donuts coffee was wafted into transit buses. While we don't want to encourage kids to run to the nearest donut shop, could other types of soothing odors be used on a school bus to keep passengers calm? ...
Prepping for taking the wheel ... of a yellow bus
April 12, 2013
Next month, I’m scheduled to not just ride a school bus, I’ll actually be driving the bus. We set this goal so that I can get a better sense of what you and your drivers face on a daily basis in terms of maneuvering such a large vehicle on the road. To prepare, I've been driving ...
Phones: not the only distractions
April 5, 2013
Yes, talking and texting with cell phones is a major factor in automotive crashes. And many states have banned drivers from using cell phones. But there was distracted driving before cell phones, and there will always be many other ways to be distracted while driving. Hard as they may try ...
More from our contractor roundtable
March 22, 2013
In our March 2013 issue, I interviewed executives at several school bus companies for a roundtable. The officials had interesting things to say on topics ranging from school bus driver shortage to healthcare reform to changes in the contractor market. Here, I’ll share with you some of their comments that didn’t make it into the print edition.
Boost tech training with incentives
March 15, 2013
In our March 2013 issue, I wrote an article titled “How to Make the Most of Technician Training,” where officials from several operations around the country shared with me practices they have in place to maximize training for their bus maintenance employees. Here, I’ll share with you some training initiatives that didn’t make it into the feature.
Fit for the job
March 8, 2013
I just hope to be half as fit and active as Earl Rineer when I’m 60, let alone 90. Earl, who marked nine decades in January, has been committed to the safe transportation of students since he began driving yellow buses in 1976. These days ...
What puts a school bus immediately out of service?
February 22, 2013
One of our readers recently shared with me a situation at his operation in which the director allowed a driver to operate a bus when some of its lights weren't functioning. This got me thinking about what puts a bus immediately out of service. I did some research ...
Don’t fall out of your seat
February 11, 2013
Do some school bus drivers need their passengers (or someone else) to remind them to buckle up? Several incidents that have made the news should serve as cautionary tales to those who haven’t made it a priority to properly wear their seat belts. ...
Unusual situations in pupil transportation
January 25, 2013
We’ve all had moments where we’ve seen or read something that makes us laugh out loud or think, “What the heck?!” I read recently about an unusual occurrence involving a pupil transportation operation in Washington state.
Bus drivers vs. bad stereotypes
January 11, 2013
Are school bus drivers painted in a bad light in the media? In TV shows, movies, books and the news, is there a tendency to emphasize the more unpleasant traits that some school bus drivers might portray on occasion? Those questions came to mind ...

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