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15 School Bus Driver Quotes You Need to Know

Driving is always a challenging task for school bus drivers. They have to manage not only the school bus but also the children inside it. Driving a school bus needs complete attention as a small mistake can cause big problems.

Great school bus drivers not only just drive, they care for their students.

Here are certain quotes on school bus drivers which you must know…

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

1. Being a School Bus Driver Is Not Just A Job… It’s an Adventure!

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2. Anyone Can Drive A Car But It Takes Someone Special to Drive a School Bus!

Anyone-Can-Drive-A-Car-But-It-Takes-Someone-Special-to-Drive-a-School-Bus

3. Be Nice To The School Bus Driver, It’s A Long Walk From Home To School!

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4. If You Can Drive A School Bus You Can Do Anything!

If-You-Can-Drive-A-School-Bus-You-Can-Do-Anything
5. Only A School Bus Driver Would Turn Their Back On A Bus Load Of Kids!

Only-A-School-Bus-Driver-Would-Turn-Their-Back-On-A-Bus-Load-Of-Kids

6. If You Think You Have Problems, Try Being A School Bus Driver

If-You-Think-You-Have-Problems-Try-Being-A-School-Bus-Driver

7. You Can’t Scare Me! I Drive A School Bus!

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8. Finding A School Bus Driver Is Like Finding A Good Musician!

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9. The Best Part Being School Bus Driver Is Having The Power To Stop Traffic

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10. School Bus Drivers Are The People Who Transport Children To Their Future

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11. If You Can Remain Calm, While All Around You Is Chaos…Then You Must A School Bus Driver

If-You-Can-Remain-Calm-While-All-Around-You-Is-Chaos...Then-You-Must-A-School-Bus-Driver

12. It's A Good Day When A School Bus Driver Gets On The School-Bus With You

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13. School Bus Drivers Are Always Calm Under Pressure

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14. School Bus Drivers Are The People Who Are Respectful Of Others

School-Bus-Drivers-Are-The-People-Who-Are-Respectful-Of-Others

15. If You Are In the Driver’s Seat, Your Love is the Least

If-You-Are-In-the-Drivers-Seat,-Your-Love-is-the-Least

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School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

School bus drivers are given the huge responsibility of transporting the children to and from the school safely. Driving a school bus is a very serious job and often thankless. The driver is exposed to many an experience on and off the bus and their safety is of utmost importance.

Nowadays, the school fleets comes fitted with a number of technological aids and this helps them to stay safe as well as do their jobs to the best of their abilities. We review below a list of technologies and gadgets that help them in more than one way.

Read Also: 10 School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

1: Digital Cameras

Safety enforcement is always a tough job. During most of the trips, on-bus behaviour of the students is a major distraction for the driver. Most drivers trim this problem by assigning seats to the students.

Digital cameras that are installed in modern school fleets help the driver to constantly monitor the situation inside the bus while simultaneously maintaining a watchful eye on the road.

The cameras are also endowed with the capability to record both audio and video of the happenings inside the bus. This spares the driver from having to turn back to find out what exactly happened.

These cameras are also equipped to capture the licence plate details of vehicles that pass close by the bus when it halts.

2: Bus Tracking Systems

Bus tracking systems provide the much-needed transparency that is otherwise required of the bus drivers in reporting where the bus is located at that point in time.

These systems not only work to notify parents and school authorities of the current location of the bus, but they also act to restrict harsh driving behaviours.

Parents monitor both unscheduled bus routes/ bus stops that the drivers may take and also monitor the speed of the bus. This aspect keeps the children and the drivers safe.

Bus tracking apps help to keep away distress calls from the parents that would otherwise be a distraction for the driver. The school bus tracking app helps to provide real-time data as regards approach time of a bus near the scheduled bus stop.

It also helps the driver to do his work with the concentration required to get his wards to the bus stops at the scheduled times.

3: Mirror Grid Systems

The latest school fleets come fixed with a grid of mirrors. This 7-mirror system helps the drivers to have a wide-angle view of the surroundings of the bus.

The electric grids that are present behind the mirrors help the drivers during the cold winters. The heat generated by the grid removes the fog and snow particles that get lodged on the mirror during the winters. It helps to enhance the driver’s surrounding vision.

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4: Driver-controlled Bus Doors

The doors of today’s school buses can be controlled by the bus drivers with the touch of a button. The driver’s control in the opening and closing the school bus doors are helpful in more ways than one.

Firstly, the absence of manual operations keeps away unnatural twists and turns of the body and the problems arising thereof. Shoulder pain, arm injuries, and fatigue can be completely avoided. The annual door swings are nil.

5: Air-cushioned Driver Seats

The latest school fleets come with built in driver seats that are kept up with the help of air pressure. This keeps the seat at a comfortable position for the driver and provides enhanced lumbar support that leads to fewer back problems for the drivers in the long run.

6: Smaller Bus Engines

As a direct consequence of miniaturization that is taking place in all fields, bus engines are now smaller in size. The smaller size of the engine means a smaller hood. This improves the field of vision of the driver and enables him to see more of the surroundings.

7: Computerized Diagnostic Tools

Computerized diagnostic tools that inform the driver well in advance about the upcoming maintenance jobs of the vehicle are a boon to the drivers.

Wear-out of tires, replacement of non-working indicator lights, and other maintenance jobs, if informed to the driver in advance helps them to keep the children and their job safe.

Other issues that can give the drivers a feeling of preparedness include indications about transmission problems, oil tanks and their malfunction, exhaust systems’ alarms, etc.

8: Wi-Fi Connectivity

Wi-Fi connectivity in the bus can keep children engaged with the Internet and allow them to complete their lessons, homework or indulge in other intellectually gainful activities.

This keeps them from engaging in unruly behaviour which can distract the drivers and keep them from performing their duties.

Read Also: School Bus Safety Precautions a Bus Driver should Take

9: Sensors

Installation of sensors in wireless devices will inform the drivers about the current status of brakes and emergency door systems. This prevents impending disasters.

Final Thoughts

Though skilled and careful driving is still the best preventative method to keep the kids safe during their ride on the school bus, technological aids, in the recent times have helped the drivers prevent many an accident.

Therefore it is important to install these technological gadgets and systems to make the school bus ride much safer than before.

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How School Bus Drivers Can Help Protect Disabled Children

It’s the responsibility of the schools to ensure that children, especially those with special needs, are transported safely to and from schools on their school buses.

In this connection, it is important that schools follow certain guidelines when transporting children that need special care.

Further, schools should employ trained staff, make arrangements aides or nurses when needed, establish an emergency evacuation plan, and implement an infection control program.

In order to protect children with disabilities, drivers need to be familiar with the characteristic behaviour of such students.

Most often, children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, deafness, blindness, hearing impairment, orthopaedic impairments, emotional disturbance, and vision impairment have to be transported.

Read Also:  Guidelines for Transportation of Students with Special Needs

Children with disabilities need more protection than other kids as they are vulnerable to abuse and bullying on the school bus. The disabilities may be mild, moderate, or severe.

Some of the children might even find it challenging to get into and alight from the school bus. Students with severe disabilities might even have to be provided with special seating arrangements. School bus drivers have a key role to play in ensuring the safety of disabled kids on a daily basis.

School Bus Drivers – What Can They Do to Protect Disabled Children

In general,

  • Whenever the driver senses signs of bullying he/she should stop the vehicle at a safe place for taking necessary action.
  • Calling the bully by name and giving a verbal warning often results in the perpetrator stopping bullying. When verbal warning does not work, the driver should call for assistance.
  • Bus drivers should always report all incidents as outlined in the school policy statement. Recording of incidents helps in handling issues in a more effective manner if they persist.
  • As a person dealing with children on a daily basis, the bus driver should be aware of the scope of care needed to be provided for special children. Awareness about the needs of such children enables the driver to protect them in a better manner.
  • If required, drivers should ask for a paraprofessional to ride in the bus so that he/she can take care of them when the driver should focus on driving. A camera may also be helpful in this regard.
  • Drivers can enforce certain rules to prevent negative behaviours on the part of normal children.
  • Drivers could reinforce positive behaviours by complimenting and recognizing good behaviours.

When it comes to dealing with children with disabilities some of the ways in which a driver can provide protection are listed below.

Autism

Autistic children exhibit a wide range of behaviours. Some do not communicate, while some others exhibit emotional outbursts or abnormal fears or react abnormally to sound.

Drivers can ignore behaviours that do not hamper the safety of the bus. However, they should intervene when the behaviours have an impact on bus safety.

The intervention should be planned carefully. They should restrict themselves to giving just brief directions to deal with an inappropriate behaviour and avoid providing choices. Further, the direction should be given in a gentle but firm voice.

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Deafness

Not all deaf students communicate in a similar manner. Some of them use the sign language, while some others are good at lip-reading. Deaf students capable of communicating with the driver pose fewer behavioural problems.

Drivers should familiarize themselves with the student's preferred method of communication. He or she should also keep a pencil and paper ready to deal with children having this disability and communication issues.

Students with hearing impairment may not respond in a consistent manner to verbal communications and they may or may not use the sign language.

It is, therefore, important to establish good communication practices with such students to be able to protect them in difficult situations.

Read Also : Guidelines for Transportation of Students with Special Needs

Orthopaedic Impairment

Children with orthopaedic impairments often require specialized services. Many students require specialized seating and special equipment. They may also need physical help.

When it comes to dealing with children with orthopaedic impairments, drivers should have a clear idea of the needs. This is essential in order to provide protection to such children.

Other Health Impairments   

This category includes children that have limited strength. In appearance, they may not differ from non-disabled children.

In order to deal with such children, it is important that the driver knows about each child's disability and how it manifests when he/she is on the bus.

The drivers should be given adequate in-service training as children with health impairments are often transported along with others.

Vision Impairment   

Children with impaired vision may or may not need special services. The requirement for the driver’s intervention depends on the ability of a student to function independently.

Drivers should carefully assess the ability of each student and provide assistance as needed. In order to ensure their safety, drivers should consistently maintain the daily routine, including assignment of the same seat.

They should be capable of communicating in a friendly manner and provide precise directions to the children.

Differently abled or disabled children often have to contend with a lot of problems on the school bus. Therefore, bus drivers are responsible for dealing with them in the right manner and ensuring their safety.

It is their job to protect the children. Of course, they have to drive safely, but they are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive and safe environment.

Bus drivers who are not adequately prepared to deal with differently abled students should seek training in order to transport them safely to and from the school.

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A Simple Guide to Auto Route Optimization in School Buses

The world we live in is no longer as safe as it used to be. Crimes, especially against young children, are on the rise. Hardly a day or two passes without any crime against children being reported.

In addition, mishaps and accidents are a threat to the lives of students. As a result, parents are worried more than ever about the well being of their school going children.

Due to this reason schools have sought the help of technology to ensure the safety of the students who use their school bus to commute to and from school.

Read Also: Bus Route Optimization Tips for School Bus Safety and Economy

While cameras help school authorities to keep an eye on children when they are within the campus, the tracking software enables them to ensure their safety during their trip to and back from the school. The software also enables parents to keep track of their children through their mobile devices.

As such, the aim of this post is to provide some information on school bus auto route optimization. So, let us start by understanding as to what auto route optimization actually means. 

Auto Route Optimization – What Is It

Optimization of the school bus route is a process wherein the school transportation administrator generates one set of routes to ensure that all children are transported to and from school safely and on time.

Bus route optimization enables schools to reduce the number of buses and the distance to be travelled, thus contributing in saving fuel and other costs. It may not be possible to achieve this always, but it is certainly one of the important goals.

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School bus routes can be optimized in many ways. A simple stop optimization could result in savings in running miles. It involves keeping the same stops on the routes and changing the order in which each stop is visited.

Another option is to observe stops on several routes and determine whether grouping them differently could result in a reduction in the distance travelled.

However, care should be taken not to overload the bus by assigning too many students in each route. Further, enough time should be allocated to buses to complete a trip.

As such, a number of components have to be considered while optimizing school bus routes. It is not an easy task to keep track of every variable in mind and manually optimize the school bus routes.

It is, therefore, best done with the help of software with built-in artificial intelligence capability. This software makes use of an algorithm to optimize the routes.

How Does School Bus Auto Route Optimization Work?

The route optimization software automatically creates routes on the basis of the specifications that the users provide. The parameters that the users may incorporate into the algorithm may include the following:

  • The maximum time a student should spend on the bus.
  • The maximum time allowed for the entire route. The starting point and destination is also taken into account in this case. The preferred pickup point in each school bus route may also be included as a parameter.
  • Specify the capacity.
  • Group the students either by school or route
  • Consider whether the bus should stop at each of the school in the route or at transfer points.
  • Choose buses to be used from the fleet.
  • Specify the size of the bus to be used on a specific route.

Routes are often created on the basis of the students to be included. Students may be added based on the school in which they are studying and the boundary or zone they are being transported to.

Once a route is finalized, it can be viewed on a map with each and every stop clearly marked. Reports can also be printed and reviewed. The software allows this process to run until the optimum route is determined.

The important aspect to be kept in mind is that this is just the starting point. Even after activating a route, it can be manipulated to suit the needs of the school.

What Are The Benefits Of Auto Route Optimization?

Read Also : Is Bus Route Optimization the Perfect Solution to Save Money

School bus operators often find it challenging to optimize the operational costs. They can reduce their costs only by optimizing their routes. The auto-routing ability of the software helps to do exactly that and derive a number of benefits. They include the following:

The built-in AI capability of the software provides auto suggestions on the most fuel-efficient routes. In addition, it carries out efficiency checks to make sure that all the current school bus routes are operating at their optimum capacity.

A lot of recorded data related to routes, pick up points, school buses and their seating capacity are made use of for the purpose. Vehicle assignments are often initiated by considering the current data collated in the registration forms.

 This feature is very helpful in efficiently managing multiple pick-up points in one route. If a kid that is being picked up in a route changes location, the system comes up with a contingency plan and suggests the pickup and drop points.

The route optimization feature of the software also helps to identify the shortest route. Pick up and drop points are suggested based on the earlier points assigned. It is carried out after thorough analysis and suggests the best pick-up point for each every student in the shortest route.

The software provides school bus operators not only with feedback but also suggestions for achieving time and fuel efficiency.

The school bus auto route optimization software spares the in-charge of the efforts involved in manually allocating the routes.

It also allows the school bus drivers to drive peacefully as they are always provided with an updated route map that clearly indicates the pickup as well as drop points.

When a school wants to redistrict and implement optimize routes the software enables them to tweak the routes. Through optimization, it is possible to eliminate few trips and this allows the school to save substantial amount of money.

It is the key features of the auto route optimization that make it extremely useful: They include the following:

1. Pick up and drop points are taken into account when suggesting a route.

2. Optimizes the pickup points and improves efficiency.

3. Automatically updates the best pick-up order, hence saving time and fuel consumption.

4. Auto optimization aligns multiple pick-up points in one route to create the shortest route.

5. Centralization of data enables the determination of the shortest route to reduce the distance travelled.     

6. The route optimization application automatically modifies the current seating capacity based on the number of students in a route.

7. The beauty of the system is that it automatically collects the data whenever the pickup or drop off point is modified.

9. It is also capable of suggesting alternate best routes to avoid traffic.

Finally, the software may also be employed for the purpose of generating new ideas with respect to route optimization. Using the school bus auto route optimization software it is also possible to identify new ways to cut routes and save money.

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7 Tips To Improve Fuel Efficiency In School Buses

School fleets in the United States consume millions of gallons of fuel annually. Transportation costs make up for a large part of the expenditure and affect school budgets.

Fuel efficiency and fuel economy are, therefore, very important factors in the operation of school bus fleets. The testing of fuel economy is a complicated procedure and only effective testing methods can render accurate results.

However, fuel-efficient school buses share some important common features (in the body of the bus as well as external to it) and some of them are listed below.

Read Also : 15 Splendid Ways to Reduce Fuel Cost [For School Buses]

1: Driver’s Behaviour

How a school bus driver steers the vehicle is the foremost factor to be considered when discussing fuel efficiency. The driving behaviour has an impact of almost 30 percent on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Drivers who avoid sudden acceleration and excess idling have vehicles exhibiting higher fuel efficiency.

For every hour of idling of the engine, the fuel economy is known to reduce by almost 1 percent. Idling can be controlled with the help of technology.

Installing a vehicle idle shutdown timer on the bus will be helpful. This helps to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency by limiting the time that the engine remains in the idling mode.

Smooth acceleration by the drivers after ignition ensures that engine runs in the peak efficiency zone. If they operate the engine below optimum range levels, carbon build-up occurs and over time the fuel efficiency decreases.

Fuel efficiency is higher when the drivers do not hit the brakes regularly. It is important to coast whenever possible.

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2: Condition of the tires

 It’s a good idea to choose tires that are designed to have a longer life. This is because the normal buses are subjected to harsher bus-duty cycles.

The scrub loads of school buses tend to be higher on account of frequent starting and stopping of the bus. School buses should have tires designed to have a longer life, they should have a deeper tread.

Tires should have proper inflation. Under-inflated and over inflated tires can reduce fuel economy and lessen the lifespan of the tires

3: Synthetic Lubricants

Synthetic lubricants when used on the axle and transmission help to improve fuel economy by 1 percent. The axle lubricant when used extends drain interval.

Synthetic lubricants have a better flow at lower ambient temperatures than mineral oils and tend to be more efficient at these temperatures. However, care has to be taken not to exceed fill levels as this works to decrease fuel efficiency.

Read Also : 7 Advantages of Having a School Bus Routing Software

4: Axle Alignment

Improper alignment of the axle contributes to reduction of the fuel economy. Misalignment increases drag and tires get worn out faster. It also reduces fuel economy by 0.6 percent.

5: Proper Specifications

Fuel efficiency is heavily dependent on proper component specifications that have to be stated during the purchase of the buses. The school authorities seek the help of technical experts to specify and install the right components that would help to improve fuel efficiency.

•    Selection of a fuel-efficient engine is the first step. Latest models are more fuel efficient than their pre-2007 counterparts.

•    Use of the fuel economy mode in auto-transmission vehicles serves to improve fuel efficiency by up to 5 percent. Other features of auto transmission that can be used to improve fuel efficiency include the use of shift energy management/transmission retarders.

•    The shift energy management systems combined with improved torque delivery in modern school fleets improve fuel efficiency. The rear axle ratio of such buses is lower and this maintains vehicle response.

6: Utilize Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Use of HEVs is a great way to improve fuel efficiency. These fleets provide substantial savings in fuel when compared to their non-electrical counterparts.

The fuel efficiency of HEVs is high and is improved by as much as 50 to 60 percent. The selected technology (plug-in and non-plug-in) also contributes to a small extent.

7: Convert to modern Diesel Engines

Diesel engines built in these times are cleaner than the engines built in the 1980s. Diesel is undoubtedly the most cost-effective fuel that can be used by the bus engines.

It provides better economy than other natural gas alternatives. Many of the older buses are retrofitted with the newer engines as retrofitting techniques have also improved over the years.

The modern yellow fuel efficient diesel-powered school fleets are more reliable, safe and durable; the diesel fuel provides 25 to 30 percent additional mileage which increases their fuel efficiency.

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7 Common Misconceptions About Electric School Buses

Electric school buses are very helpful in promoting a student fraternity that is much healthier. Unlike the diesel counterparts, they do not pollute the air.

Diesel school buses release extremely harmful gases into the atmosphere through the exhaust. Additionally, electric school buses present an affordable option and school districts may be able to offset their initial investment because of the operational benefits provided by them over the longer term.

The revolution is definitely underway, but it is slower in becoming popular because of the myths associated with electric school buses. Here are the 7 common misconceptions about electric school buses.

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

1. Electric Buses Are Expensive

Electric buses cost more than vehicles that run on conventional fuels. However, if you consider the total cost of owning an electric vehicle, they will be cheaper in the long run.

The main reason for higher costs is the batteries. The battery costs are plummeting and sooner than expected they will be cheaper than conventional fuel vehicles.

Further, the affordability of the electric bus improves as production increases due to demand. The economy of scale is what will bring down costs.

In the UK, a one-time premium is provided for buyers of electric vehicles. In the US, tax credits are extended to electric vehicle owners. Many states also offer additional subsidies. All these contribute to making electric vehicles more affordable.

2. Takes Long to Charge the Battery

The electric vehicle technology is improving continuously. The time required to charge is continuing to fall rapidly. Now, it has come down to a range of 6 to 10 hours. Ideally, batteries can be charged overnight. Batteries that are not fully depleted get charged much faster.

DC fast charging stations will be of great help for electric vehicles that need to be topped up on the go. They can be charged to their 80 percent capacity level in just about 20 minutes.

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The number of fast charging public stations is on the rise. Tesla has also come out with superchargers which have the ability to increase the range between charges.

3. Power and Efficiency of Electric Vehicles Are Less

This is one of the most common misconceptions about electric vehicles. It is commonly believed that they are less efficient compared to internal combustion engines.

According to experts, electric vehicles convert nearly 59 to 62 percent of the electrical energy drawn from the grid into power at the vehicle’s wheels.

This is because the efficiency of an electric motor which ranges between 85 and 90 percent and 80 percent when the energy required recharging is taken into account. On the other hand, conventional fuel vehicles convert just about 17 to 21 percent of the energy that is stored in the fuel.

The efficiency of internal combustion engines is limited by the thermodynamic effect.

Moreover, electric motors make use of fixed-ratio gearboxes and do not have a clutch. Many electric vehicles come with motors that offer high acceleration compared to those that use fossil fuels.

It is also possible to use a “direct motor-to-wheel configuration” for electric vehicles and this helps to increase the available power. As electric vehicles are not fitted with a differential, an axle, or a transmission, their drive-train inertia is lower.

4. Driving Range of Electric Buses Is Less

The driving range of electric school buses is measured on the basis of the distance covered by them until their battery reaches the zero-charge state.

Typically, an electric bus covers 96 miles per day. If school districts want to increase the range, it can be achieved by adding another battery pack. This enables the driving range to be increased and ensure a safe, quiet, and emission-free ride to and from school for students.

According to the American School Bus Council, a conventional fuel school bus travels a distance of 12,000 miles, on average, in a year.

Assuming 190 school working days in a year, a school bus has to cover a distance of 63 miles in a day. This means that the driving range of an electric school bus is more than sufficient to fulfill the daily driving needs.
 

Read Also : 12 Common Questions on Electric School Buses

5. Operating Costs of Electric School Buses Are High

The best aspect about an electric bus is that it enables the users to save some money. One of the key benefits is the need to use fossil fuel is eliminated.

Further, electric vehicles do not require oil changes. Other maintenance costs associated with fossil fuel-powered school buses are also eliminated.

The maintenance costs of electric vehicles are expected to fall further over the next few years because of technological improvements.

Studies show that substantial savings in operating costs can be achieved by changing over to an electric school bus fleet.

Electric buses provide a whopping 82 percent reduction in fuel costs and a massive 75 percent decrease in maintenance costs per year.

In spite of the fact that the electric school buses cost at least double that of diesel-run buses, school districts can hope to save as much as $2,000 and $4,400 on fuel and maintenance costs, respectively, in a year.

6. The Batteries of Electric Vehicles Are Not Good

The evolution of the batteries is taking place at a very fast pace. It is generally believed that the batteries of electric vehicles have the same lifespan as car batteries.

However, new research shows that the lifespan of the batteries of electric vehicles is significantly longer. It is because of this reason that many manufacturers are offering up to 10 years warranty for electric vehicle batteries.

According to modest estimates, the effectiveness of the electric vehicle battery reduces only by about 15 to 25 percent. Electric-powered school buses are provided with a battery of 160 kWh rating.

It takes a charging time of eight hours. However, the fact that the battery receives 19.2 kW of charge when it runs for an hour has to be taken into account.

7. Electric Vehicles Are Not More Beneficial To the Environment

One of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution is the transportation sector. Replacing vehicles that use fossil fuel with electric vehicles can significantly reduce the greenhouse effect.

On the basis of source of electricity, the plans of the state or community to shift to renewable sources of energy, and the type of vehicle, the production of carbon dioxide from powering an electric vehicle from the grid is less than that produced when using conventional fuels to power vehicles. Charging of an electric vehicle from a renewable energy source produces nearly zero emissions.

In addition to the environmental benefits, a reduction in the use of conventional vehicles helps to improve the quality of air in urban areas and reduces traffic noise.

Final Thoughts

We hope that most of the misconceptions about electric vehicles have been clarified through this post. As can be seen from the above, changing over to operating an electric school bus fleet provides a lot of benefits to all concerned.

 

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Challenges in School Bus Fee Collection and Remedial Options

The distinct yellow school buses are a very well-known and unmistakable part of school life across the globe. School buses are considered to be the safest and easiest way of transportation for students to get to and from school.

To ensure seamless functioning of this transport system, schools have to meet certain stipulations. The expense for keeping them in operation is considerable and the maintenance of the fleet is continuous. The transport fee paid by the students is the main contributor to keeping this system functional.

Pay Your School Bus Fee in a Single Touch Click Here To Learn More

Collection of this fee from each student is not a simple task, though it seems easy enough at first glance. Challenges faced by the school in the collection of bus or transport fees are varied.

Providing easy and convenient methods of payment to parents helps the school authorities in the regular collection of fees. Schools have traditional accounting systems with personnel appointed in-house to collect fees from parents of bus users.

In addition to this, modern age tools like online payments, bank transfers, credit and debit cards, preloaded swipe cards and the like also facilitate payment with ease.

 

Non-payment of School Bus Fees – Common Causes

  • Fee Defaults occur due to various reasons – loss of employment of the parent, a sluggish economy, seasonal trade, bad planning, or plain old forgetfulness.

     

    All of the above can be remedied by timely reminders and follow-up by the school administration staff in charge of fee collections, with a few extreme cases where the higher school faculty will need to be enlisted for assistance.
     

  • Loss of employment of the parent is one of the major reasons for defaulting on fees payment. A re-prioritization of their budget very often puts the school bus fees on the lowest rung.

     

    Long drawn out litigations involving considerable amounts in legal fees and unexpected medical expenses incurred are other factors that topple an otherwise normal budget at students’ homes.
     

  • Deterioration in family relationships like parents’ divorce is another factor. They blame each other and are undecided on the responsibility of their wards expenses. This ends up in not making the payment.

     

    These and many other reasons can be attributed to non-payment of the fee by the parents. This being a very sensitive matter, the school authorities need to approach this problem with caution, patience and understanding. This can be tackled in different ways.

Communicate with Guardians

Communication with the parents is of utmost importance. It would be wise to send them a reminder a little before the fee due date. Sometimes the parent forgets to make the payment due to daily workplace pressures.

So a reminder would be of real help. Reminders could be sent through e-mails, text messaging, SMS alerts, letters and personal phone calls over and above the age-old use of the ‘student diary’.

In addition to this, the school authorities can ask parent to come to the school for a one-on-one explanation. This is seen to be very effective as the school can actually assess the parents’ distress and offer help as the situation may warrant.

Offer Tailor-made Solutions

Financial difficulties faced can be temporary in nature. An assessment of the parent’s status in case of fee payment would be appropriate before the school decides to offer payment plans. Some of the other factors that may be considered before offering any tailor-made payment options are:

•    Number of evasion
•    Possibility of the parents recovering from their current financial predicament
•    Recovery of the fees in an amicable manner

In case of first-time defaulters, the school can chalk out a plan wherein the due amount can be paid in a single installment.

This may entail giving a discount on the total amount owed if they agree to pay, but will ensure receipt of a major portion rather than receiving nothing at all.

If this doesn’t seem favorable, a suggestion to clear the entire dues in installments over a fixed period of time can be offered.

A regular evasion may have to be dealt with in a more stringent manner. Students may be restricted from entering buses after all the due notices are given to parents.

Some schools prevent students from participating in sports, athletics, games and other extra-curricular activities. It is a ‘no pay, no play’ policy. 

Schools withhold reports and results till all the dues are cleared. Students, thus penalized, consequently put pressure on their parents to make payments.

These actions, since being done in front of peers, may affect students psychologically and should be weighed seriously before enforcement.

Co-ordination and cohesion are required between the transport department and the school authorities if these measures are to be adopted. Such decisions are usually taken by more senior members of the school faculty or administration.

Read Also : Should Parents Pay for School Buses?

Other Methods

In countries and states where a transfer certificate is not insisted, parents tend to shift their wards to other schools to evade paying any and all pending dues. Making these documents mandatory will force them to clear their outstanding dues.

If these methods do not work, then the school can seek legal assistance. It may be a long drawn process, but recovery of amount is beneficial to the school bus operations.

A sure way to ensure zero outstanding on fees is to link them to the parent/guardian’s credit card with automatic payment transfers on each due dates. In this manner when an invoice is raised by the school’s accounting system, it will be paid immediately by a transfer from the pre-assigned credit card.

It would be prudent to obtain a bus enrolment contract signed by each parent. The contract with legally enforceable terms and conditions should be in place at the start of the academic year.

Conclusion

There is no strategy that works perfectly. Parents and school authorities have to work out a compassionate system wherein bad debts can be reduced, and losses minimized so that a viable school transport system is still available to the majority of the school bus users.

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8 Types of School Buses – Understanding the Classification

There are many types of school buses, all school buses do not look the same. Whereas some are taller, others are shorter buses. Some of the buses look like vans and some others have their front portions appear different from other buses.

However, one common characteristic that is common to all school buses is that they are coloured yellow. Some of the school buses in the warmer regions have their roofs painted white.

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In spite of minor differences, all school buses have to conform to specific safety standards imposed by the federal motor vehicles department.

Read Also : School Bus Designs : Why They Remain Unchanged

Basically school buses are classified into 8 different types. Read on to learn more about school buses and how they are grouped into the different classes.

1. Type A

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This class of bus is further sub-divided into two other groups: Type A-1 and Type A-2. Basically, the Type –A school bus is constructed using a vehicle with a cutaway front section. The driver’s door is on the left side.  

Type A-1 has a weight rating of less than 10000 lb and Type A-2 has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10000 lb or more. This is the maximum allowable weight when the bus is loaded to full capacity and includes the weight of vehicle, fuel, passengers, and all other items placed inside the bus including the spares.

One type that was introduced in the year 2004 had the rating of 14000 Lb. The bus is designed to carry more than 10 people on board.

2. Type B

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This class of school bus is also designed to carry more than 10 people. The body of the bus is attached to a front-section vehicle chassis after construction. The gross weight rating is more than 10000 lb.

A section of the engine is placed beside the seat of the driver and behind the windshield. The entrance door for the students is placed behind the front side wheels of the bus.

This type of bus is less commonly seen these days. However, this type of bus is manufactured as per strict guidelines for specific requirements.

3. Type C

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This type of a school bus is always considered the traditional school bus. In this conventional design, the body of the bus is on a flat chassis and the gross vehicle weight rating is over 10000 lb (typically between 23500 to 29500 lb).

The Type C bus is also designed to carry more than 10 passengers. The whole engine lies in front of the windshield. The passenger door is placed behind the front side wheels. This bus is the typical one used for transporting school students.

4. Type D

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With the engine of the vehicle placed behind the windshield and just by the side of the driver’s seat, the Type D bus is designed for carrying more than 10 passengers. 

This type of bus is also called the ‘forward engine (FE) bus’ or the ‘rear engine (RE) bus’ depending on where the engine is pace in an RE bus the engine is behind the rear wheels of the bus.

Also known as the ‘transit-style bus’, in this vehicle, the entrance doors through which the passengers can board are placed ahead of the front side wheels. The GVWR of the Type D bus is more than 10000 lb (typically between 25000 to 36000 lb).

5. Multifunctional Activity Bus

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Any bus used by a school that is not intended for student transport need not be painted in the traditional yellow colour.  These buses, however, should not ply on the regular routes that the yellow school buses take for transporting students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

They are prohibited from use as a regular transportation for students to and from school. The stop arm and flashing lights are not required to be installed in these buses.

However, all the precautionary standards to protect the bus from crashing should be present. All rash-avoidance precautions and post-crash standards and conspicuity standards should be present in the activity bus.

6. School Van

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School vans are usually normal vans that have been converted into the former kind following all specifications required. Alterations that take place include cutting the roof off to make the van taller and full roll cage welding of the body of the bus.

Once these specifications are met, the van can be driven like a regular school van complying with all standards of the Motor vehicle safety department.

7. Alternate Vehicles

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All alternate vehicles used in the school are made to comply with crash avoidance standards, but they do not have to meet the traffic conspicuity regulations such as the yellow colour paint and flashing lights.

8. Non-Conforming Vans

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Generally used by schools to transport cargo, they are designed to carry 15 sitting passengers. These vans do not conform to the safety standards laid out for the purpose of vehicles that transport students.

Many of them lack even the basic safety standards that are laid out by the motor vehicle safety standards department. 

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School Bus Routing Problems – How To Tackle Them

The school transportation system caters to the safe transportation of students in buses to and back from school.

Though the operation of the vehicle fleet seems simple, it is complicated and requires immense efforts of the school authorities to run it smoothly. Routing of the school bus is a major factor in maintaining operational efficiency.

School buses have to be routed in an effective manner so that the students are picked up and dropped off on their respective stops.

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Challenges

School bus routing is a challenge which is faced by the school administration. On one hand, the students have to be transported in minimal travel time; on the other hand, school authorities have to ensure maximum utilization of the bus, keeping the expenses to a minimum.

Schools schedule bus routes taking into consideration the number of students at different bus stops, the number of buses available, and the total travel time required to reach students to and from school.

Safe transportation of pupils is a crucial factor. The parents expect high service levels which often require more buses for smaller groups of pupils.

Simultaneously, the school has to ensure safe and short walking distances to the bus-stops and timely pickup and short travel times for students. Buses have to be routed so as to avoid circuitous routes and dangerous areas.

They have to avoid over-crowding of buses and extensive use of the fleet.  The objective is to minimize total transportation costs. Providing high levels of service often end in higher expenses thus defeating the objective.

Success lies in gathering the right and accurate data and using the same to enhance the efficiency of the transportation system. Route packaging, time and capacity utilization are fundamental for arriving at an optimal solution.
 

Tackling Challenges: The Options Available

The increase in demand for school buses and the associated issues in routing and scheduling have led to a number of studies on school bus routing problems.

Routing is done manually by the transport staff at schools and also done using mathematical models and algorithmic derivations. Though these models have helped in reducing time and expenses, there is no single model that gives a clear-cut solution to this problem.

It is a combination of facts, assumptions and constraints of school resources that can be used to achieve the best results.

In all models, manual or otherwise, the objective of the school bus routing problem is to minimize the total travel distance or travel time, the total number of trips, total cost including purchase and operation costs. Most of the models are based on the following criteria:
 

Bus Stop Selection

The school decides the jurisdiction within which the school buses need to ply. Districts are divided into zones for the ease of routing.  Bus stops are located considering minimal walking distance from their homes.

Students from a cluster of near-by bus stops are allocated a specific bus. Some of the stops have more students, requiring more than one bus to be assigned to the same bus-stops. Assignment of students to buses depends solely on the capacity of the buses.
 

Bus Routing

Identification of the best bus routes is the next step. Efficient routes for the fleet of school buses are charted out to pick up and drop students from each assigned bus stop.

This is based on the capacity of each bus and also the minimal travel time between the bus stops. The generated routes consider the start and destination points as the school and vice versa after school.

At times a single route is created through all stops. This route is then divided into feasible shorter routes, taking into consideration the bus capacity and travel time constraints.

Urban areas, where there are more pupils, will require more buses. Small buses can be routed to rural areas where the number of pupils is less but the distances are more. This will keep the operational costs low.
 

Bus Scheduling

Feasible bus schedules are worked out once student assignment and routing of buses are done. During scheduling, buses are assigned specific routes.

While scheduling, minimizing the travel time is of prime consideration. The drivers are given the expected travel time, i.e., time of arrival and departure from school as well as the time at each bus stop.

The main concern of school bus providers is during the ride time for students. Drivers have to be given ample training and should be familiarized with the route before they begin service. They have to be apprised of alternate routes in the event of road accidents and traffic snarls.

We thus find that school bus planning is mainly divided into routing and scheduling. These two steps are interconnected. In  routing, we find the minimal number of trips often neglecting trip travel times.

When travel times are kept to a minimum in scheduling it often leads to an increase in the number of buses. A good solution would be one which minimizes total travel time and maximizes trip compatibility.

Conclusion            

Assigning, routing and scheduling are interconnected and hence should be solved in an integrated manner.

Traffic congestions, accidents and bad weather cause unpredicted delays. Travel time in real-life conditions becomes uncertain.

Cost-effective solutions can be implemented in real time situations when breakdowns occur or when students shift residences or leave the school.

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Why School Bus is the Safest Mode of Transportation

School buses are the safest means of transportation for students to get to school and back. Millions of children all around the world start and end their day with a trip on a school bus. Safety of the children on these trips is of utmost concern to both the school authorities as well as parents.

Children get to school by walking, bicycling or parents drop them or by school bus.

Comparison studies with other modes of transport conclude that school buses are seven times safer than average family cars. Studies have calculated student injury and death rates per mile and per trip. Risks of each mode of transportation have been analyzed. 

The highest number of accidents and deaths were recorded where teen drivers were involved. Studies showed that the fatality rate of travelling in a vehicle driven by a teenager was 44 times more than riding on a school bus.

The second most dangerous form of transport was bicycling where serious head injuries were caused mainly because of not wearing helmets. School buses accounted for minimal accidents and student death rates.

The sheer size of the bus, its vibrant yellow color, and additional safety features like seat-belts, stop signs, big mirrors and flashing lights ensure that students are in safe hands while travelling by the school bus.

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School Bus – Safety Features

The special safety features of a school bus as compared to normal passenger buses include both physical and technological changes. Some of them are listed below.

  • School buses worldwide are painted a bright yellow color for better visibility. The yellow color is visible even in bad weather conditions. It helps the other drivers and pedestrians to recognize the school bus and take extra caution when near them.
  • School buses are larger and heavier than normal passenger buses. The buses have a height which is above the top of any car. This reduces the effect of any impact on passengers due to accidents.
  • The first step into the bus is designed to be low and retractable. This helps the students to alight the bus with ease and reduces accidental falls.
  • Anti-skid flooring is provided in the buses to avoid slipping during wet weather conditions.
  • Strap handles are provided along the rail overhead for extra grip while moving inside the bus.
  • The buses are provided with stop arms that signal the traffic to come to a halt. This is an indication that students are either getting on or off the bus. Flashlights too are provided to alert the traffic  at the stop.
  • Individual seat belts are provided on all school buses to keep children safe. In large buses these days the seats are constructed in a way that seat belts are not required.
    This is called compartmentalization. Seats are structured like compartments which bend forward on impact. The bus seats are higher, thicker and wider. Metal surfaces are covered with padding. They are designed to absorb force in the event of a crash, thereby protecting the children.
  • First-aid kits are provided in the buses to take care of emergencies.
  • Speed governors are installed in school buses to limit the speed within a prescribed range. Theyact as a check on the driver, preventing him from over-speeding. Low speeds further reduce the likelihood of casualties in the event of a crash.
  • The GPS (Global Positioning System) in the school buses enables the driver to stay on the safest route. This is of immense help to the parents in knowing where and when the bus has reached. The school too is updated on the progress of the school bus on the designated route.
  • The RFID system installed on the school bus records the entry and exit of the students on the bus. The parents and school get a real-time update of where their wards are, whether they have boarded or departed from the bus. The school authorities can keep track of any missing student.
  • Video cameras are installed in the bus to monitor the behavior of students while riding. Speaker systems in the buses are used by the driver or school authorities to inform the students of any impending danger or traffic anomalies.
  • School bus drivers are hired meticulously to meet higher standards of consistency and safety as compared to other passenger vehicle drivers.  
    They are well experienced and mature personnel. They attend safety and first aid training workshops. Periodic medical check-ups are mandatory for drivers.
  • Schools conduct evacuation drills for students who use the school buses at least twice a year. Students are taught to identify emergency exits and how to open them.

Advantages:

A big school bus normally accommodates 45-50 students. This ensures a large number of cars off the road which in turn reduces pollution and traffic congestion. The new buses are fitted with the latest emission control engines which adhere to the concept of a green environment.

Breakdown of the school bus will be the responsibility of the school. They will arrange for repairs or a replacement bus so that the students can arrive in school on time.

The GPS and RFID systems help in alleviating parental stress to a large extent.

Limitations:

Like in any form of transportation, accidents are inevitable on school buses too. Children can be injured when riding the bus, getting on or off the bus, or even when standing near the bus.

Accidents while on the bus are caused due to crashes with other vehicles. These types of accidents are minimal. Considering the size of the bus, the injuries caused to students in the buses are normally confined to minor sprains, bruises, scratches, etc.

Reports and studies have shown that most accidents occur while getting off the buses. This happens when the students do not follow the rules while alighting, when they are hit by the school bus itself, or when other motorists fail to observe traffic rules.

Though compartmentalized seats provide protection in the eventof a collision, children can still be tossed around during an accident, causing injuries. Commonly, injuries are caused to the head, neck and shoulders when an accident occurs.

Seat belts do not guarantee total protection. Enforcing the use of seat belts is difficult. They require high maintenance in order to keep them clean and in good working condition. They need to be adjusted for each child. Smaller children may also require chest or lap harnesses.

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Conclusion

School buses are the perfect fit for students to enjoy a safe and comfortable journey from and to the school. Statistics show that a child is 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking the school bus rather than when travelling in a car.

The student death rate is less than 1% of the total traffic fatalities. This is because the school buses are designed to be safer than other vehicles.

Children also need to be responsible enough to stay alert and aware of their surroundings to prevent accidents and injuries.Schools urge parents to teach their children to follow the safety rules and to maintain discipline while riding a bus.

 

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