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January 2013 Issue


A day in the life of a transportation director

By Thomas McMahon

At Shelby County Schools, enhanced driver training and partnerships with school staff have led to drastic improvements in student behavior on the bus. Here, we spend a day with Director of Transportation Debbie Rike to see how she steers the operation toward success.

Products at the NAPT trade show

Here are details on some of the new offerings from industry suppliers that were on view and announced during the two-day show in Memphis, Tenn. They include wheelchair lifts, a bus air-conditioning line and an integrated vehicle tracking and routing system.

Alex Robinson builds training in NYC, partnerships at NAPT

Two months after becoming president of NAPT, Alex Robinson began running the largest school district transportation department in the nation in December 2011. Since then, her staff at the NYC Office of Pupil Transportation has undergone more than 40 hours of training, and NAPT has grown its connections to relevant organizations around the globe.

David Anderson named SBF's Administrator of the Year

The director of transportation and fleet service at Colorado’s Adams 12 Five Star Schools has orchestrated adjustments to school bell times to make busing more efficient, for an overall savings of $900,000. He has also set up mechanic apprenticeship programs to help young people enter the field.

NASDPTS looks at ways to enhance training, service

From routing strategies to innovative facilities, speakers at the state directors conference share numerous ideas for enhancing school bus service and training. The NASDPTS membership continues to change, with more state directors announcing their retirement.

Distracted driving, bullying are key concerns in Memphis

A session at the NAPT Summit addresses ways that managers contribute to distracted driving, while a keynote presentation covers fatal school bus accidents caused by inattentive drivers. Handling problematic student behavior is the focus of a panel discussion and a joint presentation. At the trade show, Blue Bird unveils its redesigned Type D buses.

Editorials

A closer look at a Great Fleet

Whereas past editions of Great Fleets have been short profiles of several outstanding school bus operations, this time we take an in-depth look at one outstanding operation: Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools.

NAPT News & Views — When NTSB talks, we listen!

Over the years, the National Transportation Safety Board has become the gold standard for safety recommendations that should be taken to heart, and the agency’s vice chairman, Christopher Hart, is among its best keepers of the flame. There was much to be learned from his excellent presentation at the NAPT Summit in Memphis, Tenn., in October.

Bus drivers vs. bad stereotypes

Comments in a few of the latest Thomas Built Buses Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essays pointed to a negative perception of school bus drivers that the children had developed based on what they had read or seen on screen. But, fortunately, the kids’ worries were put to rest when they actually rode the bus and had positive experiences with their drivers.

The case for crossing arms

Many actions have resulted in reducing the overall average danger zone fatalities from 29 to 12, but by far the greatest reduction is in front of the bus — a 73% reduction compared to 47% in the other positions. Jeff Cassell, president of the School Bus Safety Co., says he believes the answer is crossing arms.

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