File photo

File photo

All school bus contractors understand that there may be times when they may need to drive the bus. In fact, business owners may need to “do it all,” including ensuring that local public officials understand the challenges and needs of the school bus industry and their business. The important work of local advocacy can be tough to fit in, but is as important as any other task on your list. That is where the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) can help you drive that bus.

Help Create a Unified Voice

Local advocacy is a three-point process. First, NSTA members receive information about new and changing laws evolving in Washington, D.C. Then, members collaborate with other school bus contractors across the country to make sure that lawmakers understand what makes school bus operations unique. Finally, providing your congressional representatives with information about our industry, coupled with guidance provided by NSTA, helps deliver the message.

The most important component of effective advocacy is the unified voice of school bus contractors like you. Recall the recent events surrounding the UCR fee issue. The petition of a single contractor was denied, but just one year later, the unified voice of 25 school bus trade associations, led by NSTA, resulted in a UCR fee savings that school bus contractors will have each year. You can use part of your UCR fee savings to join NSTA as a member and see the value firsthand. If you’ve never connected with your local lawmakers, NSTA can help, locally and in Washington, D.C.

Invite Your Local Rep to Meet Drivers

Do you have drivers who have had an accident-free record for years? Do you have a driver who went above and beyond for the students they transport? We can help you celebrate your great drivers while also helping you get to know your local congressional representative and their staff in a friendly and positive situation. Good press for school bus drivers promotes them as professionals worthy of the respect we give to police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. Local advocacy efforts make a difference, and can be done without leaving your hometown, but sometimes meeting your local lawmaker on their turf can highlight your message.

Blake Krapf is the president of the National School Transportation Association.

Blake Krapf is the president of the National School Transportation Association.

Come to the NSTA Bus-In

If you can find the time to travel, come to Washington, D.C., on May 1 for NSTA’s annual Bus-In event.  Each spring, school bus contractors gather to visit congressional representatives in the House and Senate on Capitol Hill. Bus-In attendees are matched with other member contractors who meet in groups with representatives and their staff. First-time attendees need not worry. NSTA works with its lobbyist to develop talking points and does a “pregame” orientation so attendees can prepare for their meetings. Afterward, attendees share feedback, discuss how their message was received, and plan follow-up communications. The collective presence of school bus contractors in Washington sends a powerful message that is hard to ignore.


All school bus contractors must drive the advocacy bus when the need arises. The time is now. The value of NSTA membership is significant. Let NSTA help you begin local advocacy, or join NSTA and other school bus contractors in Washington, D.C. Remember the lesson of our most recent win: the power of a unified voice. With NSTA, you never travel alone.