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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.
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 ...

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