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California Energy Commission Approves Funding for Over 200 Electric School Buses

Slowly but surely, states and districts across the country are moving away from diesel and towards alternative fuel sources. For years, it seemed like the best choices were either compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane - but these are still forms of fossil fuels, and therefore only a mild improvement over gasoline or diesel. Now, it seems like electric school buses are finally coming to be seen as a possibility.

Four Tips for Stop Arm Camera Success

School districts around the nation are exploring use of stop arm cameras as a way to deter unsafe driving near their buses. However, a stop arm camera by itself won't stop bad drivers. BusBoss has some tips to help ensure the success of your camera initiative.

Texas District Implements Paid School Bus Driver Training

Across the country, one of the biggest challenges facing district transportation directors is simply one of staffing. The nationwide school bus driver shortage continues in full swing, with the majority of districts reporting that they lack all the drivers they want. 

However, School Transportation News is now reporting on a recruitment plan pioneered by Bryan ISD in Texas which is simple, straightforward and - so far - successful: Paying new workers for school bus driver training aimed at getting their Commercial Driver's License (CDL). 

The Pros and Cons of Electric School Buses

The push to embrace alt-fuels in school bus fleets continues unabated, complete with both the Federal government, and many states, offering incentives to move away from gas or diesel. Previously, the conversation about alt-fuel buses mainly revolved around propane vs Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), while electric school buses rarely received much interest.

However, this is starting to change. While, in the past, electric buses were generally considered to be too under-powered to be viable, new generations of electric engines have arrived which are capable of generating more than enough horsepower. Likewise, every year sees increases in battery capacity, allowing electric buses to run all but the largest of routes.

Iowa Joins 4 Other States in Requiring School Bus Seatbelts

For decades, arguments have raged over whether or not school bus seat belts were a good idea. The official stance was that school buses were already so safe that the additional protection brought by belts would be minimal, or even cause as many problems as solved. However, in recent years, this conventional wisdom has come under intense scrutiny, with experiments at various scales being conducted.

Most of them point towards school bus seat belts being a good idea after all.

School Bus Driver Training: Handling Disputes With Parents

Recently, social media was buzzing when a video went viral of a Denver parent forcing her way onto a stopped school bus, and getting into a physical altercation with the bus staff that ultimately required police to break up. This is definitely a worst-case scenario when it comes to problematic parent interactions, but it does illustrate the need for school bus driver training to cover disputes with parents.

School Bus Fleet: Proper Tire Choice & Maintenance

Are the tires on your school bus fleet helping or harming your efforts to run a safe, cost-effective bus system? Despite seeming like a relatively minor choice, the kind of tires on your buses can have a lot of impact on both safety and performance. Likewise, proper care and maintenance of the tires can help keep safety standards high, while reducing long-term costs.

Here are a few tips we've picked up over the years.

National Survey Shares Challenges of School Bus Safety

One difficulty when talking about school transportation management, and school bus safety, is getting a handle on the big picture. Discussions of district transportation systems are often filled with anecdotal evidence, relatively few studies trying to look at the situation on a nationwide basis. That's why it was so refreshing to see the recent study conducted by Transportation Services Co. (TSC).

The study was distributed to over 1,600 districts around the country, and over 300 were returned - a very high sample size, for a voluntary survey like this. However, that allowed TSC to construct a detailed picture of the challenges facing school bus safety programs.

Here are some of the more interesting findings.

Five Ways a School Bus Tracking App Can Help in an Emergency

Whenever the news reports on a major incident involving a school bus, it's hard not to think "What if that happened to us?" News of a bus emergency is excellent for reflecting on the district's own training and response policies. Would the bus driver know how to handle the situation on their own? How long would it even take for the transportation office to know there was a problem at all?

School Bus Fleet: Air Conditioning Considerations

Do all the vehicles in your school bus fleet include air conditioning? In many districts, this is already the case - yet there are still plenty of districts playing catch-up. A/C comes standard on most new buses, but that doesn't help smaller or lower-income districts who can't afford to replace their fleet. For those districts, retrofitting is an option. 

Retrofitting can allow them to add A/C to existing buses - if they can navigate the maze of choices available. Here are a few of the most important factors to look at.

 

 

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