Nearly 50 years ago, a magazine called School Bus Trends put Miss America (Sharon Kay Ritchie of Denver) on its cover. Adorned in her gown and crown, the dark-haired beauty queen was perched on the hood of a 1956 Wayne “Superamic” school bus, which, of course, was new at the time.
Although Wayne has since closed its doors, the descendent of School Bus Trends is still alive and kicking. Although it has undergone some ownership and name changes, School Bus Trends is now known as SCHOOL BUS FLEET .
Why do I dwell in the past? Because SCHOOL BUS FLEET is poised to celebrate its 50th anniversary, a milestone for any publication. We’ll begin celebrating this anniversary in our 2006 Fact Book and continue the celebration throughout the year. Our September issue will be devoted to the anniversary and will include several feature stories and departments linked to our 50 years in pupil transportation.
The more things change. . .
In flipping through some copies of School Bus Trends, I was surprised to find that while much has changed in our industry, much has stayed the same. For example, one of the feature stories is headlined “The School Bus Ride — an Extension of the Instructional Day.” Sound familiar? Another article is titled “The ABCs of Getting Good Bus Drivers — With Some Suggestions for Selection and Training.” Also rings a bell, doesn’t it? How about “How to Build Good School Bus Schedules”?
Operationally, we still face many of the same challenges that our predecessors did 50 years ago. Student discipline, driver recruitment and retention, and routing and scheduling will always be top priorities among school transportation managers.
This is one of the key reasons that SCHOOL BUS FLEET has stayed around for so long. Trade magazines like ours play an essential role in helping to disseminate critical industry information.
For the more than 20 years that I’ve been involved with this publication, we’ve always been committed to providing our readers with practical advice on how to do their jobs better.
With our larger perspective of the industry, we’ve been able to bring you exclusive statistics and research, such as the Top 100 School District Fleets survey that appears in this issue. Don’t forget that we also publish a Top 50 Contractor Fleets survey in our June/July issue. More than that, we’re the only industry magazine that surveys drivers, special-needs managers, driver trainers and maintenance managers. We believe that these statistical snapshots of the industry form a larger image that can help you spot trends and make valid comparisons with your peers.
Still breaking new ground
I’m also proud of the way our magazine has evolved over the years, bringing you special reports such as “Great Fleets Across America,” “Top 10 Maintenance Programs” and our “Fascinating Personalities” sections. Earlier this year, we launched the industry’s first photo contest.
We’re not done yet, either. This coming year will bring a slate of new feature stories that will take the magazine farther and higher than it has ever gone before. In addition, our new partnership with the National Association for Pupil Transportation will provide mutual benefits that will spill over to our readers. The next 50 years promise to be even more exciting and informative than the first. Stay tuned.