On my drive home, a vehicle that’s caught my eye on numerous occasions is a Crown school bus that I’m fairly certain is someone’s personal vehicle: emblazoned on the sides and back of the bus are the words “COOL BUS.” Have you come across any retired school buses that are now used for a new purpose?
I’ve often asked myself why you should have to educate the public on school bus safety laws. I’ve always believed it’s something that people should learn in driver’s education class.
Managers at school districts and bus companies say that they typically select these drivers from their existing pool of employees, and during the application or interview process, they look for candidates who have strong student management skills and understand the operation’s goals. Managers also share other qualifications and specifics of overseeing these members of the team.
Medford Township Public Schools continually seeks out opportunities to grow its sustainability practices, reduce transportation costs and generate revenue, which have been accomplished through such initiatives as a solar project, shared bus service and running vehicles on biodiesel. From the solar project alone, the district has realized savings of $300,000 annually.
The CEO of National Express Corp. refocuses the company on its core values and oversees an acquisition that increases the fleet to more than 20,000 school buses. He aims to provide opportunities for employees to grow while attracting new people to the business, and he remains active in industry associations.
Pupil transporters recommend considering everything from whether to use mid-block stops or corner stops to avoiding situations where students must cross a busy street to ensuring that the bus has enough room to maneuver in the area. Staff input and routing software can assist in this task.
The goal was for me to get a better sense of what school bus drivers face in terms of maneuvering such a large vehicle on the road. Its ease of maneuverability was eye-opening.
From fueling training to regular tank inspection to a properly equipped maintenance facility, there are many factors to consider when operating school buses on propane autogas and compressed natural gas to ensure employees’ well-being. Industry officials discuss these and other components, along with the built-in safety features of some of today’s buses.
The collaborative atmosphere at the School District of Manatee County’s transportation department ensures that everyone works together to do their jobs efficiently, minimizing unnecessary expenditures. A combination of factors, including providing ongoing driver instruction to help them operate new buses that have been purchased, has saved the district about $400,000.
Tech-to-tech instruction and partnering with neighboring school districts for training exercises provide easy opportunities to develop employees’ skills and knowledge. Having good equipment and taking advantage of resources available through state pupil transportation associations are also worthwhile.
Officials from transportation cooperatives around the country also say that they can lead to consistency in employee training and hiring, and managing and scheduling bus routes for districts. Officials discuss factors to consider when forming a cooperative, as well as potential challenges and ways to resolve them.
At this year’s NASDPTS and NAPT conferences, speakers are scheduled to discuss such topics as advanced school bus design, performance-based management and transportation safety trends. NAPT workshops will cover social media and other interesting issues, and the association’s conference will feature a revamped awards banquet and a two-day trade show.
I understand the concerns, and while I don’t have a solution, perhaps furthering the discussion on the issue is one step in the right direction.
Today’s surveillance systems not only record students on multiple channels, many record risky driving behavior, issue alerts for specific events and track buses through GPS. Here are details on these and other specifications from eight companies’ offerings.
Winton Woods City School District and Finneytown Local School District in Cincinnati share their transportation services, including buses, routes and fueling stations. In sharing special-education service alone, the operations have each saved about $25,000.