<p><em>SBF</em> Editor Thomas McMahon loves driving a school bus &mdash; in an empty parking lot with no kids on board.</p>

As Valentine’s Day draws near, it’s a good time to get sentimental about those we love.

Yes, I’ll be sure to do something romantic for my wife — my one, true love — but I would be remiss if I didn’t also make some overtures to another special someone in my life: the yellow school bus.

As you should know by now, February has been deemed Love the Bus month by the American School Bus Council. School bus operations from coast to coast will set aside some time in the coming days to pay tribute to their drivers and to promote the benefits of school bus transportation.

To that end, I’ve been reflecting on what it is about those big, yellow vehicles that makes my heart soar. OK — maybe that’s an overstatement, but I do have some compelling reasons to Love the Bus:

1. School buses are the safest way for kids to get to and from school. Unless we start using tanks to transport students, school buses will continue to be king when it comes to protecting pupils.

2. They are remarkably efficient. By shuttling dozens of students at a time, school buses take the place of dozens of passenger cars on the road and around schools, reducing traffic for everybody and saving time and money for parents.

3. They are an American-made product. Not only was the very idea of the yellow school bus developed in the U.S., but the vehicles continue to be built domestically.

4. They provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of people. From the manufacturing of the buses and related equipment to the driving, management, and maintenance of those buses, the school bus industry is a widespread source of employment.

5. They make for interesting writing. Speaking of jobs, if it weren’t for the school bus, there would be no School Bus Fleet magazine, which has kept me employed for the past 14 years. And as a writer, I continue to find fulfillment in the wealth of pupil transportation topics to cover, like this great partnership to enhance service for special-needs students at an Illinois school district.

6. School buses are fun to drive. Granted, I’ve never hauled a busload of boisterous youngsters, but I always enjoy the opportunity to get behind the wheel at demonstration-type events, like this one at the Navistar Proving Grounds.

7. They are integral to athletic endeavors. I covered this topic a couple of years ago, in an editorial about riding the school bus for cross-country running trips in high school and my recent experience of being transported to the start of the Boston Marathon in a police-escorted caravan of yellow buses.

8. They are even more integral to education. The school bus has become an icon that symbolizes the American education system, and for good reason: Many children would have no reliable way of getting to and from school if it weren’t for the yellow bus.

9. School buses also facilitate learning beyond the classroom by transporting students on field trips. Museums, zoos, aquariums, nature centers — many students get to experience these types of enriching institutions when school buses take them there.

10. Speaking of field trips, my oldest son recently rode school buses for two educational excursions. In an editorial a few months earlier, I explained why my son doesn’t ride the school bus for daily transportation. If you read about his prior experiences on the bus, you’ll understand why it’s a big deal for him to get back on board, even if just for a couple of field trips — and he said he enjoyed them. So, keeping my son safe and comfortable is one more reason that I Love the Bus.

Why do you Love the Bus, and what are you doing to celebrate it this month? Post a comment below, and send photos of your Love the Bus festivities to us at info@schoolbusfleet.com.

About the author
Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Executive Editor

Thomas had covered the pupil transportation industry with School Bus Fleet since 2002. When he's not writing articles about yellow buses, he enjoys running long distances and making a joyful noise with his guitar.

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