Dick Fischer started his pupil transportation career in 1952 at the age of 17. He drove a school bus for the first time while in the U.S. Air Force.
PEYTON, Colo. — This summer will be the last of industry veteran Dick Fischer’s time on the road teaching his 40-hour driver trainer class: He will be retiring after nearly 61 years in pupil transportation.
Fischer told SBF in an interview that he will be 78 in August, so he feels it’s time for him to retire. He noted that he hasn’t been home for summer for the last 29 years, and he joked that next summer, he’s going to stay home and mow the lawn.
Fischer provides the “Train-the-Trainer” program through his consultancy company, Trans-Consult, which he founded in 1977. He is its owner and president.
Fischer got his start in the school bus industry 25 years prior to forming Trans-Consult. He first drove a school bus in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1952 at the age of 17 when he was in the U.S. Air Force. When he left the Air Force, he got a full-time job at Orange (Calif.) Unified School District, and he then moved to Centralia Elementary School District in Buena Park, Calif., two years later, where he ultimately became director of transportation.
“We had a great team of people,” he said of the staff at Centralia Elementary. “We accomplished a lot of great things. That’s where School Bus Safety Week got started. And in 1960, we put seat belts in school buses, and we also put crossover mirrors on the buses.”
Other standout accomplishments in his career, Fischer said, are helping to form the California Association of School Transportation Officials, and speaking before the U.S. Congressional Transportation Committee regarding Federal School Bus Standard 17.
Fischer worked at ARA Transportation (which was acquired by Laidlaw) prior to starting Trans-Consult.
In his retirement, Fischer plans to travel with his wife — they often go on long cruises and road trips. He said he will also continue to distribute industry news through his “School Bus Safety” e-mail newsletter.
“It’s been fun, and it doesn’t seem like 60 years,” Fischer said of his time in the industry. “I enjoyed getting up in the morning and seeing what we could accomplish. I’ll miss the professionals in this industry who want to do their job well.”
In 2002, SBF named Fischer one of its 25 Fascinating Industry Personalities. To read the profile, click here and scroll toward the bottom of the page.