All posts by TSB Super Admin

Is Driving A School Bus An Enjoyable Job?

A school bus driver’s job is very challenging. Transporting students to and from school is one of great responsibility. The safety and comfort of students are of prime consideration to the school bus drivers.

Like any other job, the interest and dedication to the profession make the school bus driver’s job enjoyable. Driving a school bus can be enjoyable if the driver can relate to children on the bus.

One who has a low tolerance level to kid’s antics and especially high sound levels may not find the job interesting.

Read Also: Why School Bus Drivers Deserve Our Respect

Drivers working for a bus system owned by a school or a school district are generally happier. They drive the same routes every day. They get to know each child on the bus and are able to develop a healthy relationship with them. The drivers also interact with the parents all through the school year on a daily basis.

Whereas a driver working for a contracted school bus company may not find their job enjoyable, the contract companies are more focused on profits and not on children. Drivers are juggled around depending on the decision of the transportation manager each day.

They drive different routes for different schools and hence building a rapport with children or parents become impossible. This clearly makes the drivers unhappy.

Most of the drivers feel that their job is rewarded by each child’s smile every morning. The child is invariably rushed to the bus stop in the mornings by the busy parents who have no time for niceties.

The child is therefore only too happy to see the familiar cheerful welcoming face. Similarly at the end of a tiring school day the child once again sees the school bus driver who is known to him. The child feels secure in the care of the school bus driver.

Utmost dedication and patience is the virtue of a good school bus driver. Affection for children and an ability to mingle with them is certainly of help to manage the students on board the bus.

A pleasant disposition with both students and parents will entail the school bus driver being included in the community.

Drivers term the students as precious cargo. They feel like carrying the future citizens of the country. Hence they are very careful and responsible in handling them.


The relationship with children and their parents leads to the drivers being accepted into their community. The drivers are invited for fetes, carnivals etc hosted by the community. The drivers are even called for college graduation day celebrations.

This inclusiveness raises the self-esteem of the driver. He feels important and in turn takes on himself the task of caring for the children on board the bus. Connecting with community and being surrounded by children on a regular basis keeps the drivers young at heart.

The drivers use their discretion depending on the relationships. If a normally punctual child is running late, the driver might wait for a reasonable time instead of sticking rigidly to his time schedule.

Teachers often change during the school life of a child. But a school bus driver remains the same for the duration of the student’s school life.

The job of a school bus driver is most of the time a part-time job. Drivers who can deal with part-time hours find the job enjoyable. The school bus drivers have a lot of independence.

Drivers can do other jobs during their free time to augment their income. They can attend to their personal needs at home.

The flexibility in their job allows the school bus driver to be happy. School bus drivers who work part-time have flexible schedules as compared to rigid schedules of a full-time job.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

They can opt not to work on days they are otherwise engaged. They can take up other work during their idle time. Most drivers enjoy the flexible schedule so that they can mesh together their personal life and professional life seamlessly.

The school bus drivers have the opportunity to do additional work like driving students on field trips, athletic events etc. The schools operate on school year calendars where time off is given for Christmas, summer and spring breaks.

Transporting children to and from school for five days a week is the main job of the school bus driver. Hence they enjoy their weekends and evenings off giving them ample time to spend with their families and friends.

A school bus driver does not have to spend years obtaining a certificate or degree. A school bus driver’s profession would be apt for those who do not wish to spend years studying.

A driver’s license and the special skill training to be a school bus driver will enable him in transporting the young children safely to and from school. He is surrounded by playful children and appreciative parents. He interacts with people in the community.

There are other humane aspects which make the driver’s job enjoyable. The exchange of greetings like good mornings on entering the bus and the good days while being dropped off at the end of the day is an encouragement for the drivers.

The drivers get an insight of the different personalities and their traits. It ranges from the mild mannered, boisterous, polite, considerate, taunting and bullying nature.   


The driver witnesses the warm exchanges between children and their parents or grandparents while they are being dropped off at the bus stops. The drivers in the bargain learn to be patient, compassionate and caring.

The school bus driver’s job is repetitive. An early morning start in all weather conditions, checking of the condition of the vehicle daily, memorizing routes and pick up points, tackling traffic are inevitable acts that the driver has to perform day in and out.

The loud noise of chatter and communication of students on the bus, the fights between students, dealing with irate parents and school authorities are other challenges the driver faces. Without a sincere dedication to his duty the driver would not be able to do these tasks.

The remuneration of a school bus driver may not be very high. But the immense satisfaction the driver derives in transporting young scholars to and from school safely makes his job enjoyable.

The work life balance is high. If working part-time hours, the driver finds sufficient time to do time his household duties. He can take up other jobs during his free time if he needs to augment his income.

The driver has to handle plenty of responsibility. The parents and school entrust their children with the driver. His alertness and ability to make the right decision is of paramount importance to the safety of the passengers. Though stressful at times the job of the school bus driver is relaxed in general.

The added benefits of payment during summer duty, additional money on field trips, the holidays and flexible schedules make the job attractive. Helping special needs children makes the job even more worthwhile. Co-worker interaction helps the drivers to learn from each other’s experiences.

The job provides job security. There are plenty vacancies for school bus drivers at all times. Performing the job to the best of one’s ability and remaining extremely professional will ensure that the job is secure.

Being safe, punctual, reliable, responsible and behaving appropriately with the children on the bus are key factors pertaining to retaining a school bus driver’s job.

Read Also: School Bus Transportation Security – 18 Practices to Follow

There isn’t much of career advancement in the school bus driver’s job. Sometimes they are promoted to drive bigger vehicles like coaches or offered trainer positions. The special skills acquired to drive a school bus can be easily taught to other drivers.

The school bus driver sets the tone for the day. The first and last face the child sees during a school day is that of the school bus driver. The driver who enjoys his job and is happy will make the child’s day on the bus a pleasant experience.

School Bus Transportation Security – 18 Practices to Follow

School buses are considered to be the safest means of transportation for students in every country, mainly because these buses meet federal regulation.

Each country follows its own standards and principles in maintaining safety in school bus transportation. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards, school buses should be different in design and must be protected by the law, unlike passenger vehicles.


The administration also recommends compartmentalization as an ideal option for large buses to protect students from crashes.  At the same time, small school buses should come with lap or shoulder belts for all seats, which provide better security.

According to the Roads and Transport Authorities across the globe, school buses

  • should not exceed the maximum speed of 80 km per hour
  • must come with red, yellow and other light indicators system to alert when the bus stops
  • should feature mirrors system that shall show all sides of the bus
  • floor must be covered by combustible, non-slippery rubber
  • must accommodate electronic door opening and closing mechanism under driver’s control
  • should implement a speed control device that adheres to the standards provided by the schools

Based on the standard school bus transportation guidelines followed in different countries, let us discuss 18 best practices that improve student’s safety in school buses.

For Drivers

As school bus accidents are rising, drivers need to be very cautious to prevent such disasters. The irresponsible behavior of the drivers’ is considered to be a key factor that causes such accidents.

1. Make sure that the bus you drive include all sort of safety features including stop arms and flashing lights, cross-view mirrors and emergency exits

2. Also check for stop arms, bus-empty signs, secure seating, first-aid box and fire extinguishers

3. Focus on high crash standards and rollover protection features

4. Check whether the bus is parked in a safe area

5. Pre-trip inspections should also be conducted consistently and thoroughly

6. Follow certain safety procedures that would be helpful to escape from any hazards just like active shooting or hijacking

7. Also let the students know those safety features so that they are sure of their security.

For Parents

Parents are responsible for educating their kids on key basic rules of safety. They must make sure to take the children to the stop at least five minutes early before the scheduled time of the bus. They should –

8. Make the children familiar with their stop and educate children on the importance of traffic safety

9. Teach your kids to stand a few steps away from the road and get into the bus only after it comes to a complete stop

10. Recommend using handrails when they are getting in to and even while getting down from the bus and tell them to fasten seat belts if it’s available

11. Ask them to take the help of the driver in case if anything gets dropped out of the bus and they have to get back them

12. Teach the importance of seat belts in preventing injuries in case of any accident and ask them to go directly to a seat as soon as they get in to the school bus

13. Also train kids to discuss with them or with the school management of any offences committed by the driver or students

For Schools

School authorities can consider implementing certain policies that ensure student transportation safety such as

14. Allowing only authorized drivers and assigned vehicles to enter and leave the school premises

15. Using technology and artificial intelligence options to prevent any hijacking or bus theft

16. Make sure that a staff is strictly present in the bus

17. Provide periodic training for drivers on how to handle students as well as any situation in the bus

18. Emergency evacuation training of a school bus helps students, drivers and support staff to handle any critical situation

Some schools have installed combi-booster rear transmitter device that provides building access cards that are meant to secure the buses as well as the yard.

Once the building access card is inserted into the device, gate will open only if it perfectly matches the combination of bus and driver for that specific time slot to enter or exit the yard.

Schools can also take advantage of advanced software options available to manage tasks such as bus fare collection, unplanned trips, routing and more.

For schools that consider outsourcing their transportation tasks, make sure to choose a company with experience in achieving streamlined transportation operations.

GPS Trackers Help Schools and Parents Track School Bus

High-definition GPS systems are now available that help parents and school administrators to track the correct location of the school bus, in case of any delay or missing.

With real-time details, parents can also enjoy the peace of mind that comes from realizing that their kids are safe. An ideal GPS tracking device can help to

  • know whether a particular student is present on the assigned bus or have  got off the bus
  • track any school bus routes
  • notify any discrepancies that occurred

These GPS tracking apps on mobiles can offer both security and convenience.

Apps along with GPS tracking devices helps parents of all classes and even special education students to get on-time updates of the bus routes – to and from school. They can also be aware of any weather or traffic delays.

Now most buses also feature cameras that help school officials to solve theft or any other mishappenings. Cameras are also helpful in finding other drivers who make any fuss by ignoring these stop signs.

While using cameras in buses, schools should also educate their employees on ways to use the video system perfectly.

Ten Reasons Why School Bus Drivers Quit

With school bus drivers quitting or retiring from their roles at a faster rate, many school districts are now reporting diverse difficulties in recruiting and retaining drivers.

They handle many responsibilities including ensuring the safety of children getting on and off the bus, following traffic rules and road signs.

Driver shortage increases headache to school districts

School bus driver shortage is a rising concern amongst school districts, leading to longer waits for a ride to school as well as crowded buses for students.

Read Also: 27 Best GPS Tracking Apps For Android and iOS

Shortage is getting so severe that even bonuses are offered for these drivers who sign up for the job. People in role of Mechanics are now driving kids from and to school. Shortages are also leading to route cancellations in many districts.

School Bus Fleet Magazine’s survey highlights that 90% of respondents have some degree of school bus driver shortage. Key factors that are reported to be causing these shortages include delay in getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) which may take even up to 6 months, rate of pay, reduced work hours and more.


As there is lack of qualified applicants, many public schools are now moving to more proficient systems, where each driver will be required to take more pick-up times at different schools.

However, there are complaints arising from drivers who have to do a double-run that they are not getting enough notice, which hinders their scheduled breaks.

Here are some key reasons for why these drivers leave their jobs

1. Low wages

Low payment rates are also forcing drivers to leave their job, even if they are interested in this profession. For drivers, payment will be low, often till they have their commercial license.

The salary provided also depends on their driving experience, work history as well as location of work and the hours they worked.

2. Lack of benefits

Earlier most school districts considered driving a school bus as a part-time work, especially in summer. So the drivers were allowed only part-time payments, and limited benefits, preventing them from receiving and full time employment benefits like health insurance.

Splitting their shifts in to morning and afternoon also restricts these transportation staff from earning any additional income. Even if they work regular hours, reports prove that they receive benefits that are much lesser than what most full-time employees in the school district receive.

3. Health issues

Driving for long hours can lead to health issues in drivers. Health issues that school bus drivers often face includes stress, insomnia, muscular pains, obesity, respiratory and infectious diseases due to exposure to pollutants, gastric disorders due to irregular food habits and more.

It is highly recommended for drivers to take regular medical checkups, eat right based on a nutritionist’s instructions, take enough rest, exercise regularly to avoid weight gain and improve body strength.

4. Lack of Administrative Support

Lack of support from school management is also a key reason for drivers to quit their job.

Some common complaints from drivers in many school communities include: no authority given to make children follow rules on their buses, no support from management when parents complain, implementation of policies that don’t support driving staff, paying a deaf ear to driver’s report on children’s unsafe behavior on the bus.

5. Bad Hours

Another major issue for bus drivers is the hours they have to work. Split shifts and irregular working hours can make it extremely difficult for them to get another part-time job.

However extra runs they get during summer vacation can help them get paid and improve earnings. To meet driver shortages, Stock Transportation is now coming up with new agreements that offer more paid hours.

Read Also: 8 Gifts Ideas For School Bus Drivers

One such recent agreement for Toronto school bus drivers includes an 8.1% increase to the base driving salary and a minimum of four hours pay is guaranteed.

6. Start-up expenses

 You need to become a certified bus driver, before being eligible to transport students in school bus. Also before being appointed, they will be recommended to a pre-employment background check, drug test as well as physical test, which also cost them.

They should also go through formal training classes conducted by the state office of pupil transportation (OPT). By successfully completing this training, they can pass the two-part bus driver examination.

7. Unpleasant Student Behavior

Children can be very troublesome at times especially children who are studying in smaller grades. And you don’t need to get surprised if they behave viciously inside a moving bus where there ain’t anyone who can legally convince them to shut up.

Most involved school bus drivers can easily tell that younger children can take you to your breaking point. Children will mentally, emotionally and sometimes even physically abuse the drivers weakening their morale and worsening their life, leaving them no choice but to leave this profession for some sanity.

8. Health Insurance

Believe it or not many school bus drivers quit due to the unaffordable health care that swallow up their monthly earnings. School bus drivers who are offered health insurance by the school authorities won’t get much after their premium deductions are made.

9. Summer

The summer vacations are important reasons why school bus drivers leave their jobs. If they have to be unemployed for about three months then there is no reason for them to return next fall.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

Mainly finding summer only Jobs is not easy and if they get any, then due to the better pay they will choose the job over driving. The school bus drivers won’t be able to split their checks for 12 months chances are they will take the new job over school bus driving.

 10. Hideous Bus Routes and Unpleasant Weather

Extreme weather conditions and troublesome bus routes are yet other reasons why school bus drivers quit especially drivers above the age of 50.

Driving long hours on edgy and blusterous routes on heavy cold and unbearable heat is never easy. These can cause extreme health issues for the drivers forcing them to step down from their jobs.

Watch what fellow drivers have to say about this

Ten Reasons Why School Bus Drivers Quit

10 School Bus Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist

Unlike other transportation fleets, school buses have an enlightening purpose that demands special care; for it is the wagon that the future of our kind travels every day.

So, it’s a crime to look at it recklessly. School buses are more of a classroom than a wagon, where pupils learn the rules of the roads lively as well. So, it is essential to keep it on the lines of rules all around.

Fortunately, our rules and regulations are very concerned about our young growing generation. The rigorous set of laws and practices could instill the importance of keeping the school buses fit and flair all the way.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Training – 10 Tips For City Driving

As the teamwork ofmolded machines and parts, every vehicle will get wear and tear over time, no different are school buses. So, it is necessary to inspect the vehicles as many times as possible. Specifically, before heading for a trip with the children.

 Since we cannot forecast the condition and the life of machine parts, either we have to dare to meet any trials across the way,or we have to make sure our vehicle is fit enough for any terrain. Sadly, we cannot go with the former in the case of school buses.

Hence, a thorough pre-trip inspection can assure that the school bus is working and ensure a smooth and comfy journey for the kids all the way.


Notably, it is the drivers who are the responsible hands for taking care of all about the wagons, and there is some list of factors that we have to check before a trip.

So, let’s check what the pre-trip inspection checklists for school bus are.

1. Body Inspection

There are chances of slack connections and broken shields and window panes, scratchy bumpers and shaded lamps, blurry paint on our school bus. Giving a glance across the body of the bus will help us to figure out the visible damages, dents,scratch on it.

Body inspection spans all the way around the bus including, the glossy mirrors, grills, window panes, tires, lamps, wipers, shields, wheel nuts, reflectors and whatever visible to our naked eye.

Moreover, it enables us to catch out any part that is not working properly. Just remember we cannot leave out anything at least.

2. Engine Check

It is more likely a full heart check-up, so it takes time and patience. The engine consists of numerous parts, so it needs an in-depth analysis to figure out issues hiding inside.

The whistling valves, tubes, wires, chamber, seals, caps, lube tanks, engine chamber, filters, plugs, radiator, battery, pistons, spark plugs, timing gears, conveyor, shafts, etc. involves in an engine check.

So, any of it hesitate to work with the others in abruptly, the whole system stop working. Moreover, there are many forms of issues that can arise in an engine.

Leaking oils, broken seals, settled grits, blocked vents are some of the common persistent problems occurs on the engine. Hence, we have to spare some moments to understand the exact issues going on the engine.

Plus, we have to have a conventional understanding of the variations about the sounds, vibrations, and unusual precipitations to find the problems intact.

3. Light and horn

Lightsare critical elements in school buses since it has to take cuts and turns more often. So, it is essential to look over the lights, indicators and tail lamps thoroughly. If it requires any repair or replacement, we have to point out it to the mechanic immediately.

The list of lights in a school bus is a bit higher than the common wagons, and each one in it shall maintain accurately. The connections, brightness, wiring also have to take into inspection before every trip.

The same actions have to be followed humbly on the horns as well. Importantly, we have to check the capacity of the battery, for these parts are relying on the battery vastly. Any unusualbehaviors should repair immediately before the journey.

4. Gears and pedals

When the engine propels the pistons and shafts vigorously,and the gears, levers,andpedals failed to transport it to wheels, everything goes in vain. Hence, the prominence of gears and pedals are not less to any other parts.

To avoid unexpected troubles during the trips, we have to inspect the gears, brake, and clutch and accelerate pedals regularly and have to repair and maintain it accurately. Remember always, “Prevention is better than cure.”

5. Lubrication

Lubrications are like a kind of unavoidable catalyst in vehicles machine operation. Probably, the drivers know how the wagons crave for it when they run short of lubricationeverytime. Hence, for the proper functioning of machine parts and longer life of vehicles, it is essential far and wide.

So, we have to check all parts that require ample amount of lubrication across the vehicle. Primarily, for the moving pedals, rotating joints, and shafts, steeringcolumns,and attachments, etc.

Read Also: How School Bus Drivers Can Help Protect Disabled Children

Moreover, the lubricants that we use for the buses also matter to tap the efficiency of vehicles. So, always keep an eye over the parts and thevarieties of oils we chose to apply.

6. Emergency and Safety Equipment’s

The safety of school bus is an imperative factor of concern. Since we cannot foretell the things ahead in our roads, every school bus must equip with all safety and emergency measures to handle any situation seamlessly. Also, the driver and other vehicle staffs have to train to operate the equipmentquite well either.

Before every trip, checking the emergency and safety kit is a worthy practice. The fire extinguishers, first aid box, warning hazard triangles, spare parts, and emergency exit door and other essential safety measures that are acting up irregular and suspicious have to be replaced appropriately.

7. Meters and Gauges

Meters and Gauges are vital counterparts in all vehicles. The fuel levels, temperature, pressure, and speed are measured by the meters and gauges that are fixed on the driver panel. Hence, it is necessary to keep it up for conscious driving.

Any defect on it can cause massive misconceptions and disrupt the safe driving. So, always remember to check the working of meters and gauges accurately. Also, carryout the recommended repair/replacement timely.

8. Wheels

These tubular synthesized rubber rolls have a prominent role in running a vehicle. Wheels are the strong legs that help the vehicles run, walk and stand still.

Hence, a defect on it can bring big troubles on a trip. The air pressure level, thread thickness, disk condition, lug nuts are the factors that has to be looked over every day. Also, wheels and tires need to replace at proper intervals for a seamless drive.

9. Brake System

Inspecting brake involves various steps. For that, we have to take multiple testing rides as well. The oil, brake chamber, pedal, air lines, seals are few of them. The chances of brake system get into defect is more high, since it is the bridle of our gigantic wagon.


Thus, we have to ensure that the brake system is fit enough to control the bus all around. Regardless of the climate, terrain it could control the vehicle all around.

10. Documents and papers

Vehicle documents including insurance policies, registration and permits, test results, driver license,and other eligibility docs are to be updated as it expires. Over every trip, we have to check the documents twice to assure all papers are valid to the data.

Therefore, inevitableis the pre-trip inspection on school buses. To ensure a safe and secure trip for the children we have to pay our diligent attention throughout the school buses. From the number ofplates to the exhaust pipe, all the standards and recommendations have to adhere.

Read Also: School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

There are numerous factors still remaining for our attention in school buses.  However, we have covered almost every vital point to look over for a pre-trip inspection. Following these tips can help you keep unnecessary troubles far away from your fleets on the roads.

Wish you a safe trip.

8 Gifts Ideas For School Bus Drivers

Most parents are interested in providing appreciation gifts as well as holiday gifts for their kid’s school bus drivers often during the end of the year, as they take your kids safe from and to school.

Read Also: Why School Bus Drivers Deserve Our Respect

Providing quality gifts is just like saying “Thank You” to those dedicated drivers for meeting your child’s transportation needs. Parents can choose from a huge selection of unique gifts that drivers will love.

Here are few ideas you can consider

1. School bus key chain

Gift ideas for school bus drivers - key chain

Such a custom keychain with about 2.5 inches long small yellow school truck is an ideal gift for school bus drivers. As this key will not occupy too much space in the driver’s pocket, they can even use it along with their bus’ or personal vehicle’s key.

Many online stores such as Amazon, Zazzle, Café press, and Jolly good gifts provide diverse designs of such key chains – with a metal body of bus or ultra-durable acrylic and rubber tires. Most such chains are UV resistant and waterproof which lasts long.

2. Travel mug

Gift ideas for school bus driver - mug

A travel or commuter mug is one of the most useful gifts a bus driver can get. As drivers are constantly travelling, they can use this mug to carry hot or cold beverage for hours.

Such mugs will come with one spill-resistant lid and another one regular lid to take liquid conveniently. Its double-walled stainless steel material will help to prevent rusting as well.

3. Label pin with presentation card

Lapel pin with presentation card

Label pins are the best option to appreciate the driver’s performance for the last year. Such a pin mounted on a presentation card with a special message of praise makes a good gift for them.

Pins often come with an attractive metal design along with a jewelry-style pin, making it a valuable gift.

4. School Bus Driver T-shirt

School Bus Driver T-shirt

Solid to light colored t-shirts are available online as well as in shops that comes in different styles – short color, light weight design, funny images, to heavy weight fabric and more.

Read Also: How Much Do School Bus Drivers Make

Available for male and female drivers, these t-shirts made from cotton or polyester can also be printed professionally, based on your specific requirement. You can make it customized with an art work, smiley or even print some quotes just like “I Make a Great Driver” or so.

5. Phone cases

Phone cases

Accessible to all ports, controls & sensors, such cases come with both soft flexible or tough materials. With such a case that features a hard shell and a rubber insert, drivers can protect their phones from scratches and lines.

Such cases are also available with unique prints of school bus images or write ups.  Cases which are compatible with wireless charging are also available online.

6. Wall clock with school bus design

Wall clock with school bus design

Such wall clocks with quartz movement designed with attractive and vibrant graphics is a best gift for the school bus driver. Suitable for both office and home, this clock features a hard black plastic case & clear lens. This gift suits all occasions let it be Christmas, Thanksgiving or a school year ending.

7. License Plate Frame

License Plate Frame

Such metal or plastic license plate cover is a perfect gift idea for a driver. Its waterproof vinyl on the frame will last long without any damage. You can also design these plates with your own funny quotes or images.

8. Wrist watch

Wrist watch

Available for both men and women with black leather strap or white silicon material, or with stainless steel construction, stylish watches of diverse models are available.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

Featured with a protective cap, these watches also have an adjustable bezel as well as tri fold closure. Buyers can also personalize this watch with variety of designs or image of a school bus and text for a unique and sturdy timepiece striking.

School Bus Technology Trends To Watch For In 2020

Technology in manufacturing school buses keeps improving and advancing each year to accommodate the increasing safety and security concerns of student transportation.

Better safety, lower costs, and simpler operations are the major reasons that drive technology to seek new methods or improvise on the existing.

Better safety, lower costs, and simpler operations are the major reasons that drive technology to seek new methods or improvise on the existing.

Read Also: School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

Information and computer technology has had a great influence on School transportation management systems. Innovative products have been developed to make unwieldy operations easier and to solve issues faced in student transportation.

Technology works with humans to create a secure and safer environment for students, enhance the rider and driver experience and increase the overall efficiency of operations.

Technology trends to watch for in 2020

1. Auto Routing

School buses use smart auto-routing algorithms simplifying the task of transport managers. School bus routing is challenging for transport managers as it consumes time and they have to keep an eye on school bus routes, check seat availability, etc. But auto-routing software makes the task easier. It automatically routes the path accurately. 

2. New Methods to stop Illegal Passing

One of the biggest threats facing by school buses safety is rash driving motorists. They often tend to ignore a school bus’s stop arm and speeding by while the children are entering or exiting from the bus. It can sometimes cause serious safety issues. The children are unpredictable, so other vehicles should be responsible for child safety. 

Stop-arm cameras are one option, but it is relatively expensive and cause public relation issues. So alternative method to prevent this is by adding more and bright lights is the most effective and friendly solution. 

3. Cutting-edge sensitivity

In school buses, the level of sensitivity varies as detection technology varies. The new AI-powered technology can detect even the faintest signs of movement, including even the minute signs of heartbeat and breathing. Though it was formally developed for passenger cars, this system partners with school bus telematics. Thus helping school bus drivers or fleet operators to diagnose if a child is left on board.

4. Alternative Fuels

The basic fact that the global petroleum reserves are depleting, forces one to look for alternatives. The environmental pollution and public health hazards caused due to emissions from diesel exhausts are very grave.


Prices of diesel and gasoline are extremely volatile and high. The efficiency level per gallon is low when compared to other fuels.

These factors compel a shift to electricity, CNG, propane, hydrogen, diesel-electric hybrid as fuel is envisaged in the coming years. These fuels offer better mileage. Their on-road operational costs are minimal compared to that of diesel-powered buses.

The initial cost of purchasing a new bus running on alternative fuel or retrofitting the current engine to suit alternate fuel requirements is high compared to that of diesel buses. But in the long run they prove viable with near-zero emissions and lower operational costs.

Electric school buses are considered to be the future of school bus transport. They are eco-friendly with zero emissions. They are quieter while in operation.

5. Timer-based Block Heating Mechanism

In cold countries, heating of the buses in the morning is a major issue. A smart timer attached to the block heater automatically starts the engine.

The timer is pre-programmed for the time at which the engine has to be started. This ensures that it is warm and ready when the driver arrives to start the trip.

The timer is pre-programmed for the time at which the engine has to be started. This ensures that it is warm and ready when the driver arrives to start the trip.

This cuts the cost of constant heating, which is impractical and eliminates the need to pay drivers for the extra warming hour in the morning. These timers help to save up to 80% of the costs depending on the weather conditions.

6. WiFi on buses

Wi-Fi on buses is a key factor enabling routing software and GPS tracking system to operate smoothly and effectively. Internet is a centralized device that ties together all the technological equipments aboard a bus.

Implementing Wi-Fi solutions helps in saving money and expanding the capabilities of the systems installed in the bus.

Students spend considerable time on the bus, travelling to and from school. Wi-Fi en-route will enable them to utilize their time on board productively, either studying or completing homework.

It will be helpful for students who lack proper internet access at their homes. Safe internet access with customized filters and data usage reporting ensure the students do not misuse the Wi-Fi for gaming or entertainment.

7. Student ID Cards

Bus identity cards are embedded with micro-chips. Radio frequency identification device (RFID) is used to record the place and time of entry and exit of students into the bus.

The RFID cards alert the parents informing them when their child has got on or off the bus. It updates school administrators on whether the child is on the right bus and at the right bus-stop.

8. Motion Detectors

The motion sensors detect any movement on a moving and stationary bus. Movements as slight as a child moving under a blanket can be detected. Use of these detectors will eliminate the chances of accidental child abandonment which happens when students sleep off without alighting from the buses.

General purpose Input/output (GP I/O) devices or sensors alert the drivers when the door is left open, when windows or hatches are opened, stop arm notifications work etc.

9. Live camera feed

The live feed cameras are installed inside and outside the buses. The internal cameras enable the drivers to view the students inside the moving school bus.

Read Also: 6 Ways Technology has Changed Student Transportation

Student behavior, seating, safety issues can be monitored and managed conveniently on a console in front of the driver. This aids the driver in regulating student discipline without having to leave his seat.

Live cameras are installed on stop arms which extend out when buses stop. This camera is of help to record errant drivers on the road who do not obey the stop warning.

10. Video Mirrors

Video mirrors are used to overcome the dangers arising from the blind spots that the large school buses have. Four cameras are fixed, in different directions, so as to provide the driver with a 360 degree view.

The view is automatically adjusted at turns and curves and switches to rear-view once the bus goes into reverse mode.

11. In-Wheel Alcohol detection

Habitual drinkers and intoxicated drivers are difficult to determine on sight. The new alcohol detection sensor detectsalcohol based on a driver’s skin oils. As the sensor is integrated into the steering wheel, it locks down the bus before it is on road thus preventing unsafe driving.

12. GPS Bus Routing Software Solutions

Planning and scheduling of school bus routes manually is time consuming, costly and stressful.GPS enabled bus routing software helps in faster implementation and optimization of bus routes which is the key factor in reducing operational expenses and fuel costs.

 The system creates routes based on accurate maps, determines time and distance factors on each route, detects traffic blocks and hazards on routes, monitors the mileage etc.

The individual GPS system of each bus is connected to central routing software enabling the school to keep track of every bus in the fleet, receive real-time updates on student locations and route deviations.

Auto-routing determines the routes based on bus seat capacity, number of bus-stops, students at each bus-stop using algorithms.

13. GPS tracking systems

Tracking software solutions make fleet management easier with more control of safety.

  • Trip and Student tracking systems– which can be integrated into the software will provide exact locations of the bus fleet. The precise and accurate data aids school management in taking well-informed decisions quickly saving time, cost and resources.
  • School bus attendance tracker – provides notifications to parents when their child boards or alight the bus. This tracker is extremely beneficial to the school in knowing the number of students in attendance in school on a particular day.
  • Tracking App for parents– helps them to track the bus and reach the bus stop in time. Parents concern of safety in transportation is addressed to a large extent by using this tracker app.
  • Manifest feature -This feature produces daily student passenger list, pick up details with timing, route diagram showing pick up locations. If a student has applied for leave of absence on a day, his name will not appear on the pick-up list for that particular day. This saves the time of the driver and students.
  • Geo-fencing– This App allows parents and schools to set boundaries. This restricts movement of the bus to specified areas. When a bus enters a restricted area the parents and the school receive alerts. The geo-fencing app can be used by parents to receive alerts when the school bus is nearing their wards bus-stop.

14. Driver Tablet

Drivers traditionally use paper printed instructions and maintain files pertaining to students, vehicle performance and maintenance details. Providing drivers with an in-vehicle tablet will reduce paper work.

All information can be recorded on the spot and can be retrieved by all departments concerned. This reduces the work load of drivers and school administrators.

15. Telematics

Telematics automate many of the manual and disconnected tasks. Telematics connects all the electronic equipment in the bus and transmits the entire data to the fleet manager.

It tracks fuel consumption, preventive maintenance schedules and the engine diagnostics of the bus. Telematics has the capability to make the transportation system more efficient and easier to maintain at lower costs.

Read Also: Impact of Anti-Collision Technology on School Buses

Technology has transformed the classrooms and now this transformation is being extended to school buses. Technology gives us new ways to optimize, maximize and automate the different functionsof school bus operations.  All of these technological applications strive to make school buses the best and the safest mode of transportation for students.

Top 9 Electric School Bus Manufactures – TrackSchoolBus

School buses are specifically designed for the role of safe transportation of students to and from school. The design for school buses is based on the safety specifications and regulations stipulated by the authorities.

Hence school buses have evolved into a category different from the normal buses and are built by specific manufacturers.

The current set of stringent rules to reduce environmental pollution and health hazards has led schools into buying buses running on fuels other than diesel. Electric buses are found to be the best alternative to diesel powered vehicles.

Read Also:Top 10 School Bus Companies

Zero emissions reduce environmental pollution. The quiet engines create no noise pollution. There is a large saving on fuel costs. It is expected that by 2030 all schools will have converted their school bus fleet into electric.

Top Electric School Bus Manufacturers

1. Blue Bird Corporation

Blue Bird Corporation is a public company with Cerberus Capital as majority stakeholder operating since 1932 from Georgia. They produce school buses fueled by diesel, gasoline, propane, CNG along with fully electric buses.

Blue Bird was awarded a grant of US $ 4.5 million in 2016 to develop electric school buses. They produced two models – Type C and Type D – and marketed them in 2018. The power-train has been developed by Adomani and EDI.  


The electric buses have a lithium-ion battery of160kwh capacity. The design provides a range of up to 120 miles. Blue Bird offers a seven year warranty on the battery. They also include a charging station that can recharge at a stretch or overnight.

Blue Bird was the first to produce electric school buses in 1994. Over the years, the advances in technology, especially in battery technology has helped in building more efficient electric buses. 

2. IC Bus

IC Bus is a wholly owned subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation. Founded in 2002 the company has its corporate office in Illinois, assembly factory in Oklahoma and parts fabrication unit in Arkansas.

IC introduced their concept Type C electric school bus called ChargE. The bus has a quiet drive-train from Volkswagen and produces no emissions. The ChargE has a range exceeding 120km and the power-train can deliver up to 260kw. This electric bus is set to launch in late 2019.

3. Thomas Built Buses Inc

Thomas Built Buses Inc is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the parent company of Mercedes Benz. Thomas was founded as early as 1916 when it was known as Perley A. Thomas Car Works operates from North Carolina.

Thomas developed ‘Jouley’ a Saf-T-Liner eC2, a Type C electric bus named after joule the unit of energy. This bus has an average range of 100 miles between charging stations.

With additional battery packs, higher ranges can be achieved. It takes 3 hours to recharge a battery capacity of 180kwh.They are powered by batteries from Proterra, a leader in battery management systems for heavy-duty electric vehicles.

Jouley claims zero emissions, exportable power and near-quiet operations. Students will be able to directly plug into the vehicle portals to charge their computers, lap tops and phones. Jouley is expected to go into production in 2019.

4. Collins Bus Corporation

Collins Bus Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of REV Group. Founded in 1967 and operating from Kansas.

They have introduced a Motiv Powered Type A electric school bus in 2018. The buses have a range of 75 miles and a battery capacity of 106kwh. It requires 8 hours to fully charge the battery pack.

Read Also: How Electric School Buses Can Save Millions for School Districts

The new Type A Electric model is in addition to their existing alternative fuel fleet of school buses powered by propane and CNG.

5. Micro Bird Inc

Micro Bird Inc is a joint venture of Girardin Minibus and Blue Bird. The company is situated in Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1935, Micro Bird introduced a Type A electric powered Micro Bird G5 Electric School Bus in 2017.

With zero-emissions, the G5 offers the cleanest drive-train. The electric bus has no transmission which results in reduced maintenance and service requirements.

6. Starcraft Bus

Starcraft Bus is a division of Forest River Inc., Indiana, and Established in 1997. In 2009, Starcraft in a joint venture with Hino motors (a division of Toyota), developed a prototype of a new Type C vehicle.

But this did not go into production. In 2016, they developed a Type B bus on a Ford chassis to use alternative fuel sources which is presently being manufactured by them.

Forest River, Phoenix Motor cars and Creative Bus Sales have joined together to develop, build and market electric school buses. Phoenix Motorcars supplies electric drive-trains to Forest River for school buses built by them on the Ford chassis. Creative Bus Sales will be the sole representative for vehicle sales and service.

The electric buses powered by electric drive-train technology will have a range of130miles on a single charge. They will be equipped with telematics solutions providing real-time operating information and remote diagnostic techniques. Starcraft electric buses powered by Phoenix will be available in 2019.

7. Lion Electric Company

Previously known as Lion Bus, was renamed in 2017 as a focus towards producing electric vehicles. Lion produces Type C buses. They produce diesel fuel buses and also the fully electric school bus ‘eLion’.

Lion uses composite materials instead of steel for the bus bodies thus minimizing corrosion. Lion manufactures its own chassis, body and battery packs. This allows them to use the best technology keeping manufacturing costs low. Thus they offer their best models at most affordable prices.

The eLion C bus is available in ranges of 50, 75 and 100 miles. Battery packs of 130kwh are used. An on-board single-phase charger is used for charging. The company plans to introduce two more models- eLion A and eLion M.

8. Trans Tech

A division of Transportation Collaborative Inc. operates from New York from 2007. Trans Tech manufactures Type A, fully electric school bus ‘eTrans’ and SST-e. Trans Tech school buses have the longest running ranges. The eSeries are powered by Motiv Power Systems, California and have been in commercial operation since 2014.

The buses are built on Ford E450 chassis. The power-train control system supplied by Motiv is compatible with a wide variety of batteries and chassis. A single battery from a pack can be changed without replacing all the batteries in the pack.

The SST-e model comes with four or five battery packs providing a running range of up to 100 miles. The on-board fast charging technology enables the battery to attain 50% charge in less than an hour and full capacity in 8 hours. The low cost 3 phase charging eliminates the requirement of expensive charging stations.

9. GreenPower Motor Company

Builds electric vehicles. They are into manufacture of Type D buses from 2007. They operate from Canada with their assembly unit at California. GreenPower Synapse 72, introduced in 2017, is a zero-emission Type D school bus.

 The basic model has a battery capacity of 100kwh which can be raised to 200kwh depending on charging needs of the bus. The on-board charging system is an added feature.

GreenPower sources its components from global suppliers- drive motors from Siemens, axles from ZF, brakes from Knorr and dash control systems from Parker.

Read Also: School Bus Seat Belts – Are They Compulsory?

The limiting factor in considering the use of electric school buses is the cost of the bus and charging of batteries. With the continuous improvement and research on battery technology, the prices of batteries can be bought down and solve the charging issues .Cleaner fuels contribute to cleaner parts and a longer engine life.

Manufacturers are hoping to work with bus operators, school authorities, government officials, and utility companies to provide a comprehensive solution encompassing charging infrastructure, vehicle technology and financial support.

6 Years Of School Bus Routing Software

School bus routing is an uphill task for all schools. Scheduling and planning of bus routes is the most important factor in increasing the efficiency of the school transportation system.

Proper routing of buses reduces operational costs of the bus fleet, fuel costs, driver expenses. Over and above it makes the job of the school administrator easier.

During the past years, bus routes have been decided and charted out manually by the school transport officers. With the increase of students and the corresponding increase of buses and the numerous pick-up locations, this task had become cumbersome.

Read Also: How TrackSchoolBus System Keeps Your Bus Fleet Running Smoothly

Technological innovations and inventions have made the process of bus routing simpler for everyone concerned.

School Bus Routing Software

EdsysPvt Ltd, an education software developer, launched software solutions for schools, transport providers and school districts. These software solutions have been developed for different applications with characteristics unique to each.


The TrackSchoolBus software was basically developed as a bus routing application. With developments in technology, this software was upgraded to include features to increase the efficiency of the school transport system. This is a look into the 5-year progress of the software.


TrackSchoolBus software was launched by EdysPvt Ltd. in 2014 as an application for tracking school buses. Version 1 was an independent app and was one of a kind for schools during its introduction. The software was widely accepted in the Middle East and South East Asia.

The software was designed to track buses and students in real-time. This proved to be of great help to transport managers and school personnel.

Data was collected automatically and routes were created by the software system.They could view the progress of the buses along the routes, real-time location of students and buses on a computer screen.


An upgraded version of the application was introduced as Version 2.0 in 2015. This application was developed with additional features benefitting parents and schools.

 The new system with an RFID card reader was integrated with the GPS tracker. The RFID card reader was a boon to the school bus drivers, parents and school authorities.

 The student attendance can be recorded automatically by the RFID card reader as each child boarded the bus.

The school administration was benefitted as they could get the details of the students travelling on each route on a daily basis without the tiresome procedure of manual counting.

Parents were benefitted the most as they could get instant alerts on their mobile phones when their child gets on and off the bus.This app helped reduce the anxiety of the parents as they were able to track the whereabouts of their child in real-time.

The application gained wider acceptance in the Middle East and South East Asia.


In 2016, TrackSchoolBus Version 3.0 was released with a multitude of additional features. The major feature was the availability of data for the different users on the web and all mobile phone apps. The customer base expanded to other countries across the globe including South Africa.

Version 3.0 was developed as a comprehensive solution to the various problems encountered in the school transportation systems. It was designed based on knowledge gained from actual experiences of users.

The software supports multiple user profiles such as parents, school authorities, teachers and transport managers. Additional features were added to the parent and school apps. The access to details by teachers and bus attendants was newly introduced.

The parent app allowed parents to apply for leave without actually contacting the school. A message sent on the app is communicated to all departments concerned – drivers and attendants, teachers, school administration. This app allows them to communicate with the school management and drivers whenever necessary.

Read Also: TrackSchoolBus Smart Bands Ensure Your Kid’s Safety

The most helpful aspect of the teacher app is the daily attendance marking. Teachers can track the students who travel by each bus. They receive notifications when the student arrives in school. Teachers can mark attendance for each period. The attendance history for a day or a period can be retrieved with ease.

Drivers can view the assigned routes, the number of trips in a day/shift, pick up and drop off points, time schedules. They do not have to remember the details. A trip is marked completed only when all students have alighted from the bus. Quick changing of routes and pick-up points is possible with the driver console app.

It also enables the bus nannies/attendants to access student attendance through a separate app. The manifest feature provides them with daily routes and student details. This app helps to locate the pick- up or drop off point.

The contact detail of the student along with the image of the student appears on the app. They receive alerts when the child gets on and off the bus. They are notified when students are absent so that the route can be revised. Pick up points can also be updated on any change required.


The TrackSchoolBus version 3.5 was released in 2017. This version saw added features which aided School transport providers. Command-centre was introduced as an add-on.

Artificial intelligence was incorporated into the system. Changing route with a simple swipe was included as a feature in route optimization.Alerts can be set up for different aspects of student safety.

The software found new markets in Africa, Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East. Franchisees were appointed in many places like Dubai and Netherlands.

This upgraded version was designed with school transport providers in mind. It collects data of students and pick up points automatically and sets routes.

The software can be used to deploy drivers and attendants on specific routes. The unique feature of nanny management enables in assigning trips, recording attendance etc.  Duty roster feature helps in dividing tasks among the fleet members.

The trip management feature enables transport providers to assign vehicles to trip routes, monitor vehicles in real-time. Auto-routing and auto-optimization features help in saving fuel and reduce vehicle expenses.

The feature of parking management allows the tracking of a vehicle when it is parked. Parking slots can be assigned automatically.

This software provides free Wi-Fi to students on board the buses and unique cards for students, drivers, attendants and vehicles.

The application can be used by accounts departments for direct bus fare collection.   The software can create an invoice and payment can be made from anywhere at all times. Payments will be secure and the process saves time.

The unique command-centre feature gives a comprehensive view of all planning and operational data. A centralized system gathers information, processes and analyses each function.

 Details of vehicle maintenance requirements, expenses and inspection dates can be obtained. This saves time for school transport provider and allows him to concentrate on other areas of importance.


Version 4.0 of the TrackSchoolBus was launched in 2018. Integrating Artificial Intelligence into the application it featured as the best school bus routing software. The additional features in this app catered to School Districts and School Transport Providers.

This App was designed forSchool Transport Managers to manage the fleet with ease and efficiency. Vehicle safety and maintenance alerts, push notifications in cases of emergencies, planning of transportation budget are features incorporated in addition to bus tracking and trip scheduling.

The transport department is alerted when any vehicle cannot be tracked. This helps in immediate identification of the reason-mechanical failure, accidents, traffic blocks- and deployment of another bus to take over the route so that least inconvenience is caused.

The fleet management app helps to keep track of the drivers,bus attendants, routes, trips, time schedules. It takes care of the fleet maintenance – recording fuel consumption, programming vehicle maintenance schedules etc. The optimization of routes brings about a reduction in maintenance costs, thus increasing productivity and efficiency.

The school district transport software simplifies the management of a large number of buses from different transport providers. This app is compatible with all types of vehicles- school van, mini-bus or a full-size bus.

This software analyses the performance of drivers which helps in rating and motivating them to enhance their performance.

Parent concerns, bus breakdowns, student missing etc. are notified to the concerned users enabling action to be taken immediately. Accountability for each user is well-defined.

Read Also: How TrackSchoolBus App Improves Bus Attendant’s Efficiency

Safe and secure bus fare collection is simplified by integrating with online payment.

This app ensures higher efficiency attained through optimized operations. The reduction in manual resources increases the return on investment.


In 2019, TrackSchoolBus’s enhanced version 5.0 was introduced for better efficiency and productivity.

Devices like CalAmp and Streamax, Dahua was integrated into this updated system.

 In new version, we have different dashboards for students, trips, vehicles, alerts and All-in-One Dashboard for the transport manager. 

Users can search and view the status of the vehicle in the map, can view the live status of Shuttle Trips which includes trip progress, seat availability and currently seating student count along with attendance details.  

We have categorized the general setting menu for the convenient use and added a few more setting options for the user in the new version.

Users can create new user roles based on requirements and control access for the user profiles. 

Schools can mark the school premises using school geo-fence. 

Additional features in setting like integrating settings were added, so the school authorities can integrate SMS gateway, Payment Gateway, Cashless system, etc by themselves.

The school can create five types of trips as scheduled, instant, shuttle, excursion, stay back trips. In the earlier version, these are managed separately, now all can manage in a single point

Auto data collection method was enhanced.

Access Rights Management was introduced in which the school can create user roles like receptionist or any other supporting staff to control system access.

 The system can automatically calculate the bus fare based on the geo-fence and payment period.  The school can also have the provision to enter the bus fare charges per single trip as well. 

The new version also allows the school authorities to set the “Night Parking Time” where the system will check the current location of all the vehicles at that time and report to the transport manager.   

The new version allows the schools to purchase features and enable as per their requirement. Since all the schools doesn’t want to use all the features, the schools have the freedom to select the features and add-ons as per their need.     

The parents can decide what notifications need to be received in a push notification, email, SMS(if the school enables SMS option). 

The main advantage of the updated version is that it focused on self-learning thus reducing dependency on us.

We provide a download section for all supporting documents like User guides for each module (including School, transport, manager, parents, driver, etc) and hardware documents, configuration tools, etc.

Each module with supporting documents is readily available in the system to be downloaded. 

The TrackSchoolBus is an outstanding school bus routing software. The features of auto-route optimization and auto-allocation make it the best school bus route planner. The added features of fee collection, fleet management, and multi-user access make it the most widely used bus routing software world-wide.

Why School Bus Drivers Deserve Our Respect

The primary duty of the School Bus Driver is the transportation of students to and from school regularly.  The parents and the school entrust their children to the school bus driver for safe and secure transportation. He has to be committed to his profession in order to work to the satisfaction of all concerned.

A school bus driver’s job is considered an easy, simple task and not considered worthy of mention. The stress and strain undergone by the drivers in the seemingly simple task of transportation are not to be neglected.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Health Problems And Solutions

They deserve enormous respect for the one single fact that they are the safe transporters of the nations young.

School Bus Driver – Role

The role of a school bus driver is a multi-faceted one. His responsibility is not limited to mere driving. In addition to possessing a valid driver’s license he needs to both possess driving and inter-personal relationship skills.

Driving skills include knowledge of traffic rules and experience in driving heavy vehicles. Ability to stay focused on the road and to remain alert at all times is a necessity for safe driving.


School bus drivers interact with students, parents, teachers, school authorities, transport companies, other drivers on the road on a daily basis.

The driver’s attitude and behavior have a large impact on the relations with each one of them. The expectations from a school bus driver are many and the challenges faced by him from various quarters are even greater.


The school bus driver is expected to be a perfect time-manager.  Sticking to designated routes and being punctual at bus stops and on-time arrival at school is of daily concern to the driver.

A slight deviation in timings caused due to traffic blocks, accidents or even late arrival of children at stops invites the wrath of both parents and school.

slight deviation in timings caused due to traffic blocks, accidents or even late arrival of children at stops invites the wrath of both parents and school.

School bus drivers are the first point of contact for parents each day. Since the bus drivers have a one to one interaction with the parents, they are required to be pleasant and smiling always.

They have to be kind and polite with the students and parents. This will assure the parent that there child is in good hands.

The driver has to be positive and dedicated to his job. An understanding of his prime responsibility of the safe transportation of children is necessary to ensure his commitment.

School Bus Driver Challenges


School bus drivers are responsible for the hundreds of children riding the buses to school and back. The safety of the children on-board their buses is a source of constant worry to them.

The biggest challenge for the school bus driver lies in driving a bus-load of 50 noisy children seated behind him, with only one mirror above his head to check their behavior.

The students keep talking, laughing, shouting, crying, fighting among themselves.  Some of them will be eating, walking up and down the aisle, ripping seats and some with special needs. Unruly behavior of students on buses is very common.

Students do not give enough respect to bus drivers. Students insult, use swear words and accuses the drives when he tries to discipline them.

At times, the drivers have to stop the buses to quiet the children and assure minimum disturbance before he proceeds further. This causes delays in the time schedules.

The students are disrespectful by leaving garbage in the bus to be cleaned by the drivers later. The students feel they have the liberty to do anything once outside the school campus. They are a disturbance to their riding compatriots who are quiet and disciplined and want to enjoy a safe ride.

School bus drivers do not expect impeccable behavior from youngsters. They only require them to have peaceful conversations without any disturbance.

The drivers, while keeping an eye on the students, need to drive safely, watching out for traffic on all sides. He has to comply with road signs, traffic signals, speed limits and crossings. The driver’s stress is compounded in adverse weather conditions.

Read Also: How Much Do School Bus Drivers Make

The boisterous and noisy students on the bus are a major cause of distraction to the drivers.The school bus driver has to monitor and maintain a level of discipline on the bus to minimize distractions. A moment of inattention can imperil the lives of the young children under his care.


Despite all the effort taken by the school bus driver to maintain cordial relations with all, he is faced with countless problems from parents.  He feels misunderstood and unappreciated by them.

Parents are always defensive when the driver points out the misconduct of their ward. This gives the child the feeling that he can misbehave and the driver is not an authority to be obeyed.

Prima facie the driver is blamed for any mishap on the bus by students, parents and school.The child’s version of the disciplinary measure meted out to him by the school bus driver very often upsets the parents. Parents react without learning the facts of the situation. They fail to give the driver the benefit of doubt.

The driver is usually faulted for non-tactful handling of the situation. This minimizes the impact of the wrong-doing and the student continues to engage in dangerous activities.

Parents can communicate with drivers through the special windows, but very often they barge into the bus blocking the entry passage. They interfere in fights among students and directly admonish those involved with their child.


The school bus drivers are reprimanded by the school administration for minor accidents, short delays, route deviations, faulty records. Many a time, the drivers are not given a fair hearing for their lapses. Reasons beyond the school bus drivers control are very often not given due consideration.

The cumbersome procedure in reporting of misbehavior of children on the bus does not elicit the desired result. The school bus driver reports misconduct.

The students are then removed from the bus. Parents complain and the students are re-instated. The driver’s efforts to maintain a level of decorum is disregarded.

Employing an annoyed, de-motivated, frustrated and distracted driver compromises the safety of children on board the bus.

 Personal grievances

The drivers have to deal with malfunctioning equipment in the bus like cameras, alarms, sensors etc. They are not trained sufficiently to handle medical emergencies or special needs children. Quick and ready access to their superiors is limited.

Long hours behind the wheels and irregular food habits cause health challenges in them. Stress, insomnia, obesity, muscular pains and gastric disorders are common ailments among the drivers.

Why the drivers deserve respect

All these factors show how exhausting the school bus driver’s job is. Every day offers something new and unstructured. Their performance against all odds is commendable.

School bus drivers need to be respected and appreciated for reaching students safely to school and back, amidst daunting circumstances inside and outside the bus.

The students need to be made aware of the difficult job that the drivers handle. They have to be taught that their safety is in the hands of the driver. Parents and school have to inculcate in them a respect for drivers. 

The thoughtless complaints raised against the drivers lower their morale and motivation to perform.  It would be beneficial to school bus drivers and authorities if due consideration is given to how challenging it is to navigate a cabin filled with young children through traffic and adverse weather while simultaneously maintaining discipline and order in the bus.

It is customary for school authorities to reward exemplary students and compliment teachers. The system of transportation is often overlooked until something bad occurs. They should be equated with the other staff in the school system.

Read Also: School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

The drivers do not seek any special recognition. They need to be listened to. Their requests should be heeded.All that the school bus drivers require is to feel included, that they are an important part of student education.

This dedicated group of drivers should be thanked profusely and praised for their efforts in safely transporting the students to school and back.

9 Ways To Reduce School Bus Transportation Costs

Schools and school districts are constantly on the look-out to reduce operational costs wherever possible. The reduced budgets given to schools prompt them to cut costs in areas that do not directly affect classroom studies. School Bus transportation costs thus become a target when school administrations seek to curtail their expenses.

Read Also : 7 Tips To Improve Fuel Efficiency In School Buses

Bus transportation costs depend on the age of the fleet, wages, maintenance expenditure,fuel-consumption, insurance charges. This comprises of 80% of the total cost.Capital costs include purchase cost of new vehicles and cost of fleet replacement. Operating a school bus fleet at optimal efficiency has a direct impact on the costs saved.

Methods to reduce school bus transportation costs

1. Reducing the number of buses

Operating a fleet of school buses is expensive. The best method to reduce costs is to reduce the number of buses in operation. Trimming the fleet automatically decreases driver wages, fuel consumption, wear and tear of vehicles etc. These factors contribute enormously in saving costs.


Efficient route management is the most practical way to lower costs without hampering the quality of service provided.The best model in cost-cutting serves to get students to school efficiently while optimizing transport times.

2. Route management

Transporting pupils to schools is a complex matter. Technological advances have helped school administrators tackle the issue with considerable ease. Software systems are used to develop bus routes. Some schools still do the route mapping manually.

Schools have to periodically review their bus routes in terms of the actual number of students using the bus and the total time utilized. Simple adjustments to the previous year’s routes will not help in lowering operational costs.

School administrators cut backs on stops and routes to stay within the budget. Minor changes in operations like minimizing trips and routes, often result in great advantages.

3. Trip planning

The number of students at each bus-stop, stop locations and bus capacities has a direct impact on the charting of bus routes. Minimizing the number of trips minimizes the number of buses required.

Trips can be linked together on a single bus route if school start and finish timings are altered slightly. The elementary, middle and high school start and dismissal times are fixed to fall within a certain time slot.

Then it becomes possible to link more trips together on a single bus. This decreases the number of buses required in total. The optimal combination of alternate bell timings and trips results in saving costs and increasing efficiency.

4. Route planning

A method used to increase operational efficiency is route planning. A single route is designed for children of different schools in a school district. Trips of different schools are combined to form one route.

A single bus is assigned to this specific route. This reduces the time the buses run without students on board as well as the number of buses on each route.  Each route becomes longer but serves more trips on one single route.

Read Also: 10 Important Benefits of Propane Based School Buses

This minimizes the number of routes resulting in lower operational costs. Pollution caused by diesel exhaust fumes is reduced to a large extent. This model is viable where schools fall under the purview of one governing authority and the services of a centralized bus company is utilized. Private schools which own their own buses might not be open to this model.

5. Walking School Bus

‘Walking School Bus’ is a new concept which has been adopted by neighborhoods in the US. When rerouting to optimize costs, some of the routes closer to the schools get eliminated. In such cases, students along those routes group together and walk to school under the supervision of an adult.

The parents and children like the idea of walking as it is healthy. Students feel energetic and fresher. Most often students get to school quicker as school buses normally take more time picking up children on their routes.

These students can either walk or bike to school. This enables students staying further away, disabled or otherwise-able students to avail bus services .Student safe zones have to be ensured.

6. Alternative fuel vehicles

States and cities in the US spend roughly $15 million annually transporting children to school. Diesel, that powers most of the buses, is now very expensive.

Governmental regulations on cutting down the pollution, forces one to adopt alternative fuel sources for running vehicles. Propane, CNG and Electric vehicles are available options. Hybrid diesel-electric vehicles, though expensive, are used by some schools.

Cost of vehicles running on alternative fuel is high as compared to the cost of diesel engine vehicles. There is a significant reduction in fuel costs. Air pollution due to diesel exhaust fumes is drastically reduced leaving lesser carbon footprint.  Better utilization of the buses can make it viable in the long run.

The buses in the existing fleet can be retrofitted with alternative fuel engines. This can help reduce the initial capital expenditure. When deciding to retrofit, the age of the vehicle has to be taken into account,to gain maximum benefit.

7. Maintenance cost

Regular maintenance is needed to keep the buses safe on the road. Less number of school buses on the road means lesser maintenance of vehicles. Savings on parts, supplies and labor is considerable when the number of buses is minimal.

A maintenance program that can extend the life of buses is essential.Periodical regular maintenance and scheduled preventive maintenance will reduce the incidence of unexpected breakdowns and the costs associated.

Schools and transport companies need to have policies on disposal of buses that cannot serve efficiently.

8. Staff expenses

A reduction in the number of buses will require less number of staff to man them. The reduced number of drivers brings about a huge saving in wages. Efficient routing and time management will reduce overtime costs.

Fleet management software provides real-time feedback and comprehensive reporting enabling safe and efficient pupil transportation.

Using digital software systems for routing, GPS systems for locations, RFID readers for bus attendance; CCTV to monitor bus discipline reduces the need for administrators handling these functions manually.

The one-time capital expenditure to install the technology and equipment required will considerably save on otherwise recurring expenses.

9. Down-side of cost reduction

Re-routing and elimination of routes will leave a good number of students without transport. Cutting bus routes without proper plans regarding student safety will cause adverse effects.

When bus stops or routes are eliminated parents react with anger. They are concerned about the dangers involved when their wards walk or cycle to school. Parents then opt to drop them to school in their cars.

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About36 cars are needed to transport an equivalent bus-load of students. This proportionately increases traffic congestion and corresponding air pollution on the roads.

The incidence of accidents is higher among cars increasing the risk of safety. School buses meet with fewer accidents. Their big sizes allow them to withstand damage better on an impact. School buses are considered to be 13 times safer than cars.

School buses in the US alone transport 25 million students, travelling distances of approximately 4 billion miles each year. Decreasing school budgets and rising fuel prices necessitates minimizing school bus operational costs.

It is worth the effort to stream-line the operations to ensure safer transportation of students at minimal costs to the school.