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April 2014 Issue


Parkway launches CNG bus project with $1.5M grant

By Thomas McMahon

After securing federal highway funds, the Missouri school district buys 30 compressed natural gas buses and builds a fast-fill fueling station. Here’s a look at how Parkway won the grant and what it expects with the new buses — including savings in fuel and maintenance costs.

Protect your operation with video surveillance

False claims made against school bus drivers or other transportation staff have the potential to damage reputations and cause legal problems if a district or bus company is unable to prove what occurred during the incident in question. Equipping buses with cameras and DVRs can offer protection by providing undisputable evidence in these situations and others, such as accidents. Here's a roundup of the technology utilized by operations around the country.

How to manage conflict and deal with angry people

Employees can express anger and frustration when they feel that their basic needs, such as feeling appreciated and valued, are not being met. Managers and others in leadership roles must listen to gain an understanding of the problem, learn the points of view of those involved and work together with the employees toward a solution.

Contractors see safety as an investment

Executives for some of North America's largest school bus companies discuss how allocating resources toward such efforts as driver training and preventive maintenance can benefit the operation by improving safety and employee morale, which, in turn, enhances profitability.

Is a shared transportation director good for your operation?

Many factors must be taken into account when considering whether to have one director oversee yellow bus service at two school districts, including the operations’ proximity to one another, the condition of the fleets and the relations among department employees. Patience and support for the shared director are essential to long-term success.

Editorials

NAPT News & Views — Winter 2014: Yellow buses completed their appointed rounds

Winter this year was particularly challenging, with storm after storm dumping massive snowfalls again and again, as far south as Atlanta. The lesson of this winter is an important one for policymakers everywhere: School buses are an indispensable community service.

Compartmentalization plus

We need to be clear that the debate is not compartmentalization vs. lap-shoulder belts. These three-point restraint systems can work together with compartmentalization to enhance its effectiveness.

Districts are in the transportation business

School districts’ primary responsibility is to educate children. But that doesn’t mean it’s their only responsibility. Pupil transportation is still a part of the overall service that the district provides for the public.

Don't take a back seat in the IEP process

Dr. Linda Bluth says that under specific circumstances, transportation personnel should play a key role in transportation decisions for children with disabilities, long before a child has been assigned to a school bus route. It is essential to recognize that all children with disabilities eligible for transportation services do not require the same level of specialized intervention.

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