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July 16, 2014  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

School bus means many things to many people

by Thomas McMahon - Also by this author


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Thomas McMahon is executive editor of SCHOOL BUS FLEET.

Thomas McMahon is executive editor of SCHOOL BUS FLEET.

The school bus is such an integral part of the education system in the U.S. that it is often used as a symbol to represent education itself. The yellow bus icon appears on school district home pages, in TV commercials and on signs in stores selling back-to-school supplies.

Some 28 million students across the nation rely on the school bus to get to and from school each day. And their parents rely on the safety and convenience that the school bus uniquely provides.

Even beyond their vital role in education, the school bus means many things to many people. As a few examples, the school bus has provided a home on wheels for some who have sought to simplify their lives or to travel the country. The yellow bus also represents an important economic opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people who are employed in the pupil transportation industry.

That last point came to mind when I read recently about Yakob Kidane Adhanom, who was born in Eritrea, East Africa. He left Eritrea as a teenager because of political instability and eventually came to the U.S.

Adhanom now works as a school bus driver for Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia.

In an interview with the Gwinnett Daily Post, Adhanom described the hardships he faced as a refugee in Africa and the opportunities that he has seen in the U.S.

Across the country, in central Oregon, a family of six has made a new home for itself in a remodeled school bus.

On her website, Nina Nelson describes her and her husband's process of simplifying life for them and their four kids, converting the school bus into a living space, and their plans for the future. She also posts plenty of photos of their innovative bus home.

What does the yellow school bus mean to you?  How has it impacted your life? Tell us in the comments section below.


More on repurposed school buses:

Photo Gallery: Life After Shuttling Students


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As a child, I grew up riding the yellow school bus (a Blue Bird school bus), but never did I dream that I would be a part of the manufacturing company of the yellow school bus. As an employee of Blue Bird Body Company, later known as the Blue Bird Corporation, I was employed at Blue Bird in various jobs for 34 years, and now I have been employed with Yancey Bus Sales & Service for almost seven (7) years for a total of 41 years of working for the yellow school bus industry. For me, as well as many more employees, the yellow school bus has helped support our family for all these years. We take great pride in the Blue Bird yellow school bus and have great memories of Blue Bird, and the Luce family who started Blue Bird from the inception in 1927.

Kathy Roberson    |    Jul 16, 2014 01:37 PM

I have found a great second career in the student transportation field after serving in the USAF for more than 29 years. If I had known about 'the school bus' I might have left the Air Force much sooner!

Jack De Forrest III    |    Jul 16, 2014 02:40 PM

I also rode the bus through out my school career and will be starting my 10th school year as a full time driver this fall. To me the bus is what symbolizes school. When I think "school" I automatically think of buses. It is neat how no matter what is going on school wise, buses are usually involved. Whether it is just getting the kids to school on a daily basis, going on a trip to the zoo, or Friday night football...there is usually a school bus around somewhere! As the article said stores use them in advertising back to school specials. Last year there was a K-Mart commercial featuring a school bus. I bought the bus I drove for my first four years (1992 International 3800 Carpenter) with the hope of converting it into a toy hauler/rv. I could not let it get scrapped or sold to someone else. That particular bus meant a lot to me, it was one of the first buses I noticed when I first visited the school I drive for now. Currently I drive a 2012 Blue Bird Vision.

Jess    |    Jul 18, 2014 05:12 AM

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