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Considering the Future of the Yellow School Bus

What's going to happen to the traditional yellow school bus in the years ahead?

Given how much the COVID-19 outbreak has shaken up industries and economies around the world, a lot of people are wondering what it means for the future of school bus transportation. Assuming that schools will eventually fully reopen and resume 'business as usual,' will there be any long term impacts on the transportation systems?

School Bus Transportation in 2021

These are chaotic times for school districts and school bus transportation managers. Between the ongoing driver shortage and all the disruption caused by COVID-19, it's easy to feel like things are getting a bit out of control.

Well, take heart, because you're not alone. Recently, HopSkipDrive conducted an extensive survey (PDF) of school districts across the country. The questions were centered on the problems they're facing, and what they consider to be the most pressing issues at the moment.

School Bus Transportation: COVID-19 Relief Funding

If your school district is in need of school bus transportation upgrades to help you deal with COVID-19 or to otherwise upgrade your school, there's good news. Congress has passed several bills recently aimed at providing COVID-19 funding to schools, and there is currently a lot of money to be claimed.

In this article, we'll briefly go over what was passed, how much funding is available, and what it can be used for.

Reducing the Costs of School Bus Transportation

There's no doubt that maintaining and running a school bus fleet is one of the most expensive aspects of school budgeting. It's often the 2nd or 3rd largest line item in many school budgets. Buses are costly to run and maintain but are absolutely required in every district.

This makes it vital that districts do everything they can to keep bus transportation costs low - especially now that the coronavirus is creating new budget strains. Here are a few tips on lowering your fleet costs.

School Bus Industry: Front-line Heroes

 We recently saw a wonderful article from School Transportation News (STN) highlighting some of the most extraordinary things done by school bus drivers in the past year.  The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak challenged service workers around the world to step up, but few outside of the healthcare industry have done more than bus drivers.

School Buses Deliver Meals to Virtual Learners

If your school is closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak or only operating at a reduced capacity, it may feel like you're letting your community down. Parents rely on functioning schools for everything from childcare to meal preparation, and in these challenging times, it can be difficult to know how to best help out. 

While there are no easy answers here, many schools have found a way to reduce the burden on parents who can't send their kids to school - using school buses to deliver lunches to low-income families.

How Student Transportation Is Changing From COVID-19 According To The Experts

2020 was a year of crisis for many industries, and that certainly includes the student transportation industry. Schools across the nation were completely unprepared for the pandemic, leading to them having to make many blind leaps into policy changes or new technologies while looking for ways to keep students safe.

How is this affecting the industry, and what changes are likely to continue into the future? This interesting series of interviews with student transportation industry leaders from School Bus Fleet has a lot of ideas. Here are some of the key takeaways we got from it.

School Districts Try out Lighted Signs on School Buses

School bus safety is one of the foremost concerns for any school transportation program - and there is no shortage of companies trying to sell you upgrades in the name of safety. Sorting through them in terms of cost vs benefit can be difficult, particularly with so many high-tech solutions entering the market.

But, what if one of the best school bus safety measures is also among the cheapest and easiest to implement? Many districts are coming to believe that simply adding more lights to their buses can keep students safe - and there's plenty of reason to believe that's the case.

Virginia School District Adds Safety Tech to School Buses

If you want a model for how technology can be used to improve school bus safety, you could easily look to Chesapeake Public School District in Chesapeake, VA.  As highlighted in a recent School Bus Fleet article, the district has made a nearly unprecedented deal with BusPatrol, Inc, to implement top-to-bottom upgrades to their bus fleet.

Few districts will manage to arrange such an expansive upgrade deal all at once, but looking at the tech they will be implementing can point towards a strong long-term school bus safety upgrade path for districts on a budget.

Eight Tips for Recruiting School Bus Drivers

We keep waiting for the bus driver shortage to end, but it doesn't. For years now, schools have been struggling to find enough school bus drivers to keep all their routes running, and still the problem persists. According to recent studies, 24% of districts describe their shortage to be "severe" or "desperate," and another 38% report "moderate" staffing problems. Only around 10% claim to have no driver staffing issues at all.

In short, districts will have to continue to hustle if they're going to find new drivers, and keep trying new tactics. Here are some more things to try!

 

 

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