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Are you in the same boat?
September 25, 2008
Since joining the SBF staff last year, I have heard and read from numerous sources that transporting students to and from school safely is the top priority for individuals within the pupil transportation industry. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when . . .
Making a big impression
September 18, 2008
I’ve often heard people in the pupil transportation industry say that the school bus is an extension of the classroom. I tend to agree. And in the same way that teachers can make a lasting impact on their students, bus drivers often do the same with their passengers. An editorial that I came across online recently provides strong evidence . . .
Where were you?
September 11, 2008
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was beginning my sophomore year of college in a small New England town. News spread rapidly across campus that day. Classes were canceled and a candlelight vigil was planned. . .
American yellow is spreading
September 4, 2008
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other agencies have illustrated the unparalleled safety record of school bus transportation in the U.S. and Canada. Another sign of our pupil transportation industry’s success can be seen in how some countries across have the globe have studied it and used it as a guide for their own . . .
Back to the blog
August 28, 2008
After an extended break, the SCHOOL BUS FLEET blog is officially back in action. Each week, my fellow editors and I will post on all things related to pupil transportation — from breaking news to human interest stories to industry chatter — adding occasional doses of opinion and humor. We hope you'll . . .
A magazine about school buses?
September 25, 2007
In August 1994, I saw a classified ad in the local newspaper. It read something like: "Managing editor needed for bus mag. Good working environment." Seeing that I was unemployed and likely to stay that way unless I developed some curiosity about editing jobs with bus mags, I called about the listing and a few days later was hired as senior editor at SCHOOL BUS FLEET Magazine.School buses? Why would anyone publish a magazine about buses? What have I gotten myself into? I asked myself. . .
Is that a bully on your bus?
September 18, 2007
My older son, who's in the third grade, recently told me that one of his classmates threw him down on the grass during recess. I said, "One of the bigger kids, right?" He said, "No, actually he's smaller than me." He leveled his hand to his own chin. "About this tall." "And he threw you down?" I replied. Well, you get the drift. I don't know if I'd classify his classmate as a bully, more likely he's just a rambunctious friend, but it concerns me when kids are tossing each . . .
The worried parent in all of us
September 11, 2007
Both of my sons, ages 6 and 8, are back in school. Neither ride the bus. We live outside the neighborhood school zone and thus don't qualify for school bus service. That means, of course, that my wife must drive them to and from school each day, a distance of about 3 miles.I know this is not the safest way to get them to and from school, but we don't have much choice. I sometimes wonder what it would be like if they did ride the bus. Would I go out and size up the driver? Would I complain...
Detox suggestions for a poisoned well
September 4, 2007
A while back I posted a note titled "Are You My Friend or My Boss?" and received many thoughtful comments about the critical importance of a manager developing a good relationship with his or her staff. This is not an easy task, I know. It requires give and take from both parties for the larger good of the organization.The reason I bring this up again is that I received an e-mail from a frustrated transportation supervisor who is trying to build a healthier workplace, but has had no success...
Upwardly mobile or stuck in neutral?
August 28, 2007
I just received good news from a friend in the industry who is very close to moving from a job as a school bus driver for a school district to a management trainee for a contractor. She has her sights set on becoming a transportation director one day, and I believe she's going to do it.Not every bus driver, however, aspires to become a manager. Some are quite happy where they're at, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. But I wonder if we're doing enough as an industry to develop...
Getting away from it all-most
August 22, 2007
I'm late by a day with my weekly blog update, but you'll have to cut me some slack because I was on a badly needed vacation. I took the family to Catalina Island, about 20 miles off the coast of Southern California. I think it's important to take off from work every now and then. We've gotten to a point where we're consumed by our jobs, especially with the advent of cell phones and e-mail. As we rode the ferry boat from Long Beach to Catalina, I watched as one fellow passenger spent most of...
A pain in the bottom
August 14, 2007
Like many of you, I’m trying to improve my knowledge, skills and performance by taking night classes. Each Wednesday evening, I settle in for a 3 ½-hour class in a meeting room at a local hotel. The subject matter is interesting. The instructor is excellent. But no matter how distracted I am by the proceedings, my chair starts to feel hard by about the third hour.
The school bus and the bridge
August 7, 2007
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. It's now considered the worst disaster in Minnesota history, and the horrifying images certainly will endure in my memory for years to come. As you might expect, a lot of attention was placed on the school bus that was on the bridge during the collapse. I don't know if it qualifies as a miracle that none of the passengers was killed, but it's pretty close. The vehicle, which was carrying 62 people, is estimated to...
A short, unpleasant ride
July 31, 2007
I traveled recently to attend an industry conference. My flight was delayed for four hours, which didn't put me in a particularly good mood when I arrived at the destination airport. Things got worse, however, when I tried to get a cab ride to my hotel. There were two taxis waiting at the cab line. By this time it was almost midnight, and there were no other customers in sight. I thought they'd be glad to see some business headed their way.
Are you my friend or my boss?
July 23, 2007
Everyone wants to be loved. It's a survival instinct. The more people who love you, and the fewer who hate you, the better the chance that you'll live a long life uninterrupted by attacks on your character and person.But leaders, such as transportation directors and other managers, aren't in their positions to be loved. They're in their positions to get a job done as efficiently and safely as possible. If they happen to be liked, or loved, by their employees, that's a bonus, but it's not...
Is workforce diversity an issue?
July 17, 2007
I read an interesting article in the Houston Chronicle about the difficulty the local transit agency has had in recruiting Hispanic employees. The agency's efforts to bring more Hispanics into its ranks included advertising in the newspaper and on the radio, as well as Spanish-language TV. It also attended job fairs and held its own job fairs. To no avail. In trying to fill 250 spots for bus drivers, it hired 10 Hispanics.
Chemistry in the bus yard?
July 10, 2007
Why do we stay at one job longer than others? I've been here at School Bus Fleet Magazine for almost 13 years. The longest I stayed at any previous job was five years or so. Early in my career, I left some jobs after only a year.
Do you know where your children are?
July 3, 2007
A recent article in the Baltimore Sun discusses the use of GPS technology to allow parents to track the whereabouts of their children. The reporter engaged the issue by interviewing a mother who bought her 7-year-old daughter a cell phone equipped with a GPS tracking device after the girl was put on the wrong school bus by a substitute teacher.
Dealing with the P word
June 26, 2007
If you're like me, you're constantly putting out fires. Most of them are small and don't require much thought or enterprise. But they sure add up! Over the course of a day, I attend to dozens of things that were not on my to-do list. Some of them could have been postponed, but they were easy to resolve and gave me a small sense of accomplishment.
If it bleeds, it leads
June 19, 2007
Ever wonder why school bus crashes, even minor ones, tend to receive wide, out-of-proportion coverage in the local news? And the regional and national news, as well, depending on the casualty count? It's pretty simple, really. Stories about endangered children, especially if accompanied by photos or video footage, pique a community's interest. Local residents might have a friend or relative who attends the involved school. Plus, traffic accidents have high curiosity value, which may explain...

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