OEMs report that industry might need seven years to fully recover from the small bus parts...

OEMs report that industry might need seven years to fully recover from the small bus parts supply chain bottleneck. 

Photo: File photo by Katrina Falk

Original equipment manufacturers warn that it may take between five to seven years for the Type A school bus market to fully recover if bottlenecks remain in the small bus parts supply chain, according to the National School Transportation Association.

The NSTA sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg outlining members’ concerns and seeking federal assistance in alleviating the shortage.

“Manufacturing of Type A school buses is primarily affected, and these buses are an important part of student transportation – in many cases a primary transportation source for special-needs students,” according to a news release.

NSTA reports that OEMs aren’t operating at full capacity and can’t meet market demand. Also, vehicle prices have climbed between 30 to 70%.

What could Buttigieg do?

The NSTA recommends:

  • Urging chassis manufacturers to set aside units for student transportation services.
  • Expanding DOT’s Port and Infrastructure and Supply Chain Resiliency Programs.
  • Developing economic incentives for small bus chassis production.
  • Streamlining current procurement regulations to ease the bottleneck.

These initiatives would give manufacturers more flexibility, the news release stated.

“NSTA calls on USDOT to work with our industry partners to address the school bus chassis shortage,” said Curt Macysyn, NSTA’s executive director. “Type A school buses are a vital part of America’s student transportation system, and our members across the country are adversely affected by price increases, delayed delivery times, and aging of their current school bus fleets.”