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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 ...
Top News: The Year in Review
December 14, 2012
In 2012, bullying was again in the limelight as video of a school bus monitor being harassed went viral. Also, the U.S. pupil transportation community made connections abroad to help other countries safely transport their students.
How have service animals impacted your operation?
November 16, 2012
Around Veterans' Day, I came across a lot of touching stories online about how service dogs are helping veterans. It got me thinking about how these animals assist students with disabilities, and their impact on a district’s or bus company’s school bus service.
Did 'Idiot' Sign Sentence Go Too Far — Or Not Far Enough?
November 14, 2012
I have to admit: I was almost feeling bad for Shena Hardin, the woman who drove her SUV on a sidewalk to get by a stopped school bus. Not because she didn't deserve to be punished for her outrageously reckless driving — she certainly did. But it seemed to me that the highly publicized component of her sentence — standing at the scene of the crime with an "idiot" sign — was a case of a judge getting carried away. ...
Insight on pupil transportation cooperatives
October 29, 2012
In our November 2012 issue, I wrote a feature on pupil transportation cooperatives, where the people I interviewed had a lot of interesting things to say about cooperatives. Here, I’ll share with you information that didn’t make it into the feature.
Taking on the top challenges of the job
October 19, 2012
For our new “50 Top Traits of Great Transportation Directors” feature, we asked transportation directors to choose the traits they’ve found to be most important in their line of work. This brings to mind a related question: What are the top challenges they face in the job? We asked directors about that, too. ...
Thoughts on transit replacing yellow buses
October 12, 2012
In recent months, we at SBF have come across news of school districts implementing a transit bus service program for some of their students. The reasons vary, but it has usually been due to cuts in school bus service or in an effort to save money. Industry officials share their views on the issue.

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