Tag Archives: School Bus

Sex Offenders On School Buses

Sexual offenses are of different types. Rape, child molestation and sexual abuse are the most common. Rapists commit rape, child molesters sexually abuse minors and sexual abuse is forceful sexual contact.


Sex offenders use different modus operandi to lure or abduct their victims. Children are innocent and are unable to comprehend a predator’s actions.

Read Also: How School Bus Drivers Can Protect Special Needs Students From Getting Bullied

Sex offenders can be found on the school buses and off the school buses at bus-stops and near schools.


Sex offenders on school buses

Sex offenders manage to get on the school buses mainly when it has been parked at locations or when the driver leaves the bus unattended for a short while. This happens mostly when the children go out on field trips or school picnics.

sex offenders on school bus

Sex offenders, mainly interested in molesting children, pry open the doors of the bus or simply walk in. They hide behind the bus where the driver’s visibility is low. It is horrifying for all to find an offender amidst a bunch of students.

It is now mandatory that the drivers do a walk-through of the bus while entering or exiting a bus. This ensures that no one has entered and that the seats are empty. He has to do a front- to- back check of the bus before he lets the children in.

In some cases, the sex offender steals a school bus and drives it along the route found in the bus. This happens when the keys are left on the bus. Bus drivers have to take extra care to see that the keys are off the bus and the windows and doors are locked before he leaves the bus.


Sex offenders off school buses

School bus stops are normally decided upon by taking into consideration parental demands as well as traffic regulations. The potential hazard mostly overlooked is the proximity of the bus stops to sex offender’s homes.

sex offenders on school bus

It is dangerous to have children wait unsupervised near homes of habitual offenders with a past history of sexual abuse. Sexual predators stalk and abduct children. Locating stops at such places are causes for trouble.

School districts while charting the routes and fixing stops do not always succeed in steering clear of sex offender proximity. But they do heed to parental concerns and shift the stops as per their request.



A register with the police provide a list of sex offenders in a particular area.  School districts can access them before fixing stops. These lists are available to transportation personnel and the public.

Several states publish data online with details of name, street address and photo and even criminal history of the sex offender.  They are categorized as low, medium and high risk offenders. Medium and high-risk offenders are those who have committed violent crimes or who repeat offenses.

School officials are entitled to view this list. Parents and community members can access this list. It would be advisable to consult all parties concerned before a stop is fixed or moved. This will help in reducing potential danger to the children.

As the parent it would be advisable to do a pre-emptive check on the neighborhood for any sex offenders residing there. All registered offenders do not pose a threat as they may not be involved with children. It would be pertinent to be constantly aware of them and to not instigate a problem with them.

Parents have to chaperone their children to the bus-stop however inconvenient it may be. Chaperoning duties can be shared among parents of children using the same bus stop.

Even if the bus stop is moved from the vicinity of a sex offender he will still be in the neighborhood. Hence it would be wise to escort the child to the bus stop daily to ward off any unwanted situations.

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

School districts are to be notified by parents of any danger to their child’s safety. If alerted promptly the bus stops can be moved.

Each school district being different, the policy on sex offenders differ. It is best the parents update themselves and be aware of the policies.

Software used in school bus routing and scheduling have functions that alert the user when the bus stop is close to that of a registered offender. The application treats the student similar to that living on a hazardous road and creates a bus stop in front of the student’s residence.

Educating children, parents and community members about the possible predatory behavior of child molesters is essential. Distributing pamphlets, information, public announcements to parents, students, teachers, school staff, the care givers can create awareness of the potential problems. Persons who are frequently in touch with children should be wary and pay attention to any such individuals.

Educating the young students about the threats they may face from the apparently friendly strangers and known persons is necessary. Children of all ages have to be educated on unnatural behavior in an age-appropriate manner that they can comprehend.



Sexual conduct against a child, predatory sexual assault, stalking a child, using a child in sexual acts, distributing indecent material to children, luring a child, aggravated assault on a child and persistent sexual abuse are crimes of sexual exploitation.

The maximum penalty for these crimes against children is 15 years of imprisonment and the minimum sentence is probation depending on the crime. 

If the sex offender is a driver, they are permanently disqualified or banned for 5 years depending on the severity of the action.

Behavioral aspects

To detect sex offenders who are not registered is not easy. They skillfully manipulate the child, family and community with kindness and charm.  His behavior is attributed to normal adult-child relations. His deviant intentions go unnoticed.

The sex offender gains access to the vulnerable child, gains the child’s trust, and assures the child’s secrecy to avoid disclosure. He will try to isolate the child from the rest.

sex offenders on school bus

Child molesters seek jobs that bring them into contact with children. They come as teachers, bus drivers, coaches or even counselors. In professional capacities the molester has access to the child alone after school hours or on field trips.


The chances of convicted sex offenders repeating an offense cannot be gauged accurately. Professionals dealing with them admit that a good number of them do re-offend. 

Read Also: ​How to Prevent the Threat of School Bus Hijacking

Adult sex offenders are found unlikely to change in behavior even with counseling and help. Experts say that most of the offenders repeat if not given professional help.

No amount of technology can completely protect children from harmful situations. School and parents have to work together to offer protection to the children.

10 Places To Buy A School Bus For Cheap

A detailed study has to be done when buying an old school bus to arrive at a wise decision.Traditionally buses were bought directly from previous users.

In this age of technology, the owners advertise the vehicle to be sold on internet sites making comparisons of the models of buses on sale easy. Bids for auctions can also be made online making the process simpler.

10 places to buy a school bus for cheap

1. Buses from schools

The best and the easiest place to find a used school bus are school districts or schools. These buses will be serviced and maintained regularly as the schools take safety of the children very seriously.

Read Also: School Bus Technology Trends To Watch For In 2019

First-hand information of the buses and assessment by mechanics who have been servicing the vehicle can be obtained. On the whole, the buses from schools tend to be well taken care of.It is advantageous to buy buses directly from school districts or schools.

2. Govdeals.com

This is a government auction site. They sell a varied range of products from building materials to musical instruments. The advantage of this site is that they show the contact information of the sellers of the product.

This helps in contacting them and assessing the product before placing the bid at the auction.

3. eBay.com

eBay is another place to search for a school bus. eBay provides a wider area of search and one can opt for local pick up. The biggest advantage of using eBay is that they have a money back policy.

If you don’t receive the item ordered, if the item is faulty or damaged, or if the features do not match the description all the money paid will be refunded.

4. Publicsurplus.com

Public Surplus is an auction site which is open to the general public. The businesses post their surplus items for sale and auction on this site.


They sell all sorts and types of surplus items in addition to buses. So their bids start very low. The auction items have detailed descriptions. They also mention who is auctioning the item. You can have a better idea of the condition of the bus before placing the bid.

5. Craiglist.com

This option enables one to find an affordable bus in the area closer to school. A thorough checking of the bus is recommended before actual purchase.

6. The Facebook marketplace

This is another version of Craigslist. This helps in finding a bus locally. It is beneficial to buyers who do not want to travel for purchases.

7. Nwbus.com

This site sells different types of buses. You can buy used buses or new. You can even build a bus to your requirement. The prices are slighter higher. But this place ensures that you are getting a bus that has been fully maintained and inspected for safety.

The site also offers finance options to pay for the bus. They have efficient customer service networks who respond promptly.

8. American Bus Sales

American Bus Sales has been a trusted supplier of used buses from 2004. They have a wide range of buses including Blue Bird, Thomas, Ford, Chevrolet, IC buses. Most of the buses they come with added benefits of a warranty.

9. National Bus Sales

National Bus Sales offers used school buses from a variety of brands including Blue Bird, Chevrolet, Collins, Ford, Starcraft, Thomas, Midbus, and Titan.

A search of their bus inventory for featured school buses will help in spotting the required vehicle. The benefit of buying from National Bus Sales is the extensive warranty support offered by them.

Most vehicles carry an existing manufacturer’s warranty, a two year drive train warranty and an additional warranty backed by National Bus Sales Quality Guarantee. They offer commercial warranties for school buses 10 years old.

10. Central States Bus

Central States Bus is a one-stop shop for school transportation needs. They deal in new and used buses. They have a stock of spare parts and accessories. They provide technical support. Their vehicles come with warranties.

Factors to be considered while buying an old school bus

The availability of used buses, suppliers of buses and technical and mechanical aspects have to be thoroughly checked before the actual purchase is made. A feasibility study is warranted to assess whether the overall cost is cheap and if the purchase is worth the money paid.

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

In addition to seating capacity, comforts of the driver and condition of the vehicle, a look at the following factors in detail would be of immense help while buying an old school bus.

1. Look to suitable regions:

Buses being used in areas without snow and rain will be in better conditions. Rain and snow causes rust and faster deterioration of mechanical equipment. Buses plying in drier regions will have lesser chances of rusty parts.

2. Type of buses

There are front and rear engine buses. Front engine buses come at a lower cost and higher seating capacity. Rear engine buses are slightly more expensive and have a lower seating capacity.

3. Driver comfort

The conventional front engine buses have the engine in front of the driver. The drivers have to endure the heat which is uncomfortable. The drivers prefer rear engine buses.

The conventional front engine buses have the engine in front of the driver. The drivers have to endure the heat which is uncomfortable. The drivers prefer rear engine buses.

4. History of the bus

Knowledge of the number of years the bus has been in operation and the mileage covered gives a very basic idea about the condition of the bus.

Older buses in all probability would have had their engine or transmissions replaced. The date of replacement and details of equipment used has to be obtained.

5. Chassis and engine

The condition of the chassis determines the life of the bus. Ensuring the engine is in perfect condition is important. These two parts have the biggest cost factor.

6. Rust

In places where it snows heavily during winter the roads are heavily salted. This causes the vehicles to rust. Rains too cause rust on the metal parts partly due to ageing of the buses and partly due to the quality of the metal used. Rust spreads.

Most of the old school buses will have rust. The buyer needs to make sure that the rust is minimal and easy to remove.

7. Worn out tires

When school buses go on sale their tires would be worn out, it would be advisable to check the amount of tread left on them. Replacing four to six tires of a school bus would cost thousands and may not make the purchase viable.


On the contrary worn out tires can be used as pretext to lower the price of the bus given that everything else on the bus is in perfect working condition.

8. Fluid leaks

Check the underneath of the bus for leaks, cracked hoses, oils or other fluids. It would not be advisable to buy a bus that is found to be leaking.

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

Fixing serious problems mechanical aspects in an old bus can become very expensive. It would be better to avoid buying buses with mechanical and engine problems however cheap they may be.

9. Battery condition

Bus batteries, per se, are very expensive to replace. An assessment of how old the battery is and when it was replaced is essential. It is better to check the battery for corrosion and leakage.

The battery compartment has to be corrosion free. The battery has to be in good working condition as the bus has to perform in varied weather conditions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

3 Key Benefits of Video Camera on School Bus

Video cameras are becoming a necessity in society today. Video surveillance can reduce diverse safety risks on as well as off the bus. The American School Bus Council has reported that each year school buses are transporting more than 25 million children from and to school.

Continuous monitoring can improve safety. In most cases, server inside the video records and wirelessly transfers the recordings and the data to the administrative server, which school board members can check.

Read Also: 15 Must-have Safety Features On A School Bus

Govtech.com has recently reported that school districts are adding safety cameras to its new fleets; they are now considering a four-camera system on their buses where now they have a two camera system.


The school board will be placing those two additional cameras, on the front dash that faces forward and another on the stop arm that faces backward. These cameras help to capture stop arm violations, by improving Wi-Fi capability within the district.

Here are three important benefits of video cameras on a school bus

1. Ensures student safety

By monitoring students, drivers and other staff in the bus, school districts can ensure that their students are safe during their bus journey. In school grounds students are under observation.

Video cameras can improve safety of students from the time they leave the parents to the school campus till they reach home back. But when travelling in bus, chances for bullying and other wicked happenings are more, which often go unnoticed.

Awareness of the fact that they are being observed in bus too will discourage any such acts and if it continues they will be punished. Not only school authorities, it also help drivers to watch each kid closely, thus preventing any sort of accidents.

To ensure safe off-loading and on-loading of students, most school boards are now considering stop-arm cameras that can protect students even outside the bus.

Such cameras placed on the stop arm of school buses can automatically capture stop-arm violations along with key details such as date, time and GPS location, which helps in legal enforcement review. These cameras also capture license plate numbers of violators in high-definition and can download stop-arm events automatically via Wi-Fi.

Such measures also prevent on-board deaths. Incidents were reported earlier on such issues, where kids who go asleep are left behind in their school bus, leading to consequences.

UAE school buses have installed “sleeping child check buttons”, which works via a mobile app that parents can access. This app will work even if bus supervisors fail to do their duty perfectly. Video surveillance also helps to make sure that the child still in the bus.

2. Monitors driver behavior

Video footage also helps to monitor driver’s behavior and activities. Often drivers get involved in issues such as rash driving, sudden braking, improper behavior, over speed, getting late than usual pick-ups and drop-offs and more.

Read Also: 5 Common Questions on School Bus Security Cameras

Any such activities inside and outside the bus can be easily captured with videos surveillance and school authorities can take action to prevent them. With video camera surveillance system, drivers will be careful about breaking the school bus safety rules.

3. Prevents other vehicle’s illegal passing

overtaking of vehicles are getting increased day by day, this can endanger the lives of students when they are getting in or out of the bus. Law in most countries recommends motorists to stop their vehicles when school buses are boarding students or getting them down.

Also bus drivers are recommended to stop buses completely at places like railroad crossings to ensure student’s safety. In its 2017 National Stop Arm Violation Count report, the National State Directors of Pupil Transportation Service (NASDPTS) has highlighted that over 104,000 school bus drivers reported that 77,972 vehicles passed their schools buses illegally all on a single day.

Many states and their school districts are now placing cameras outside the bus to record illegal passing and thus punish motorists who pass stopped school buses.

They don’t wait for the red lights to stop flashing which indicates that the motorists can proceed. Often drivers illegally passing stopped school buses will be issued tickets for which they have to pay heavy penalties.

Stop arm cameras can identify such motorists who are not obeying the law. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recommends most U.S. states including Georgia to post a warning sign on all school buses which has a monitoring system installed and this indicates the use of such a system.

In case of any accidents, video footage can provide evidence on who is responsible and statements from eyewitness can provide details on what actually happened. Stop-arm cameras can also provide high definition photos of any vehicles passing through and its license plate.

However, in each country usage of video cameras for school purposes or even individual needs should be adhered to certain standard rules and policies.

Read Also: 15 School Bus Safety Ideas You Can Share With Everyone

For instance, in Canada, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Newfoundland and Labrador – Donovan Molloy has recommended that installing and using cameras in schools and on school buses needs to be identified under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 (ATIPPA, 2015).

If not it will be considered as a law violation, leading to punishments and penalties. School districts considering outsourcing their transportation tasks should also mention their video surveillance policies in the contract they sign with the partner company.

School Bus Rental Companies in Chicago

Student transportation is wrought with complexities, though it is a fundamental issue to the school’s operation.

However, bus rental companies that are run by private transport contractors make the job easy by providing safe and reliable everyday transportation for the students to and from the schools.

Read Also: Top 10 School Bus Companies

This gives the chance for the school authorities to focus on the core assignment of education.

This gives the chance for the school authorities to focus on the core assignment of education.

1. Alltown Bus Service, Inc.

For more than 27 years now the “Alltown Bus Service, Inc” has been providing safe, timely and reasonable bus service for school going children in Chicago.

They offer buses for field trips (in and out of the state) from the school, sports trips, and grad-nite celebrations. The drivers representing the organization are professionally trained and reliable.

The company operates over 600 buses over six different locations: with three locations spread over the suburbs of Skokie, Harvey and Decatur, the other three are scattered in the north, south and west sides of Chicago.


The fleet owned by the Alltown Bus Service Company consists of both modern and conventional style buses. They are also suited for transporting special needs students (lifts for physically challenged children, wheelchair accessible ramps, and air conditioning as a medical requirement for some students).

2. First Student

First Student is a 100+-year-old bus rental company that ferries children to and from their schools in North America. This company transports more students in total per day than all Airlines combined in the country.

They are connected to 1100 school districts for providing daily student transportation. In Chicago, they have offices in Skokie, Hodgkins and Elk Grove.

The company offers turnkey contracts as well as specific arrangements as required by specific schools. They are specific in appointing local people for operations and management.

For the parents and authorities, access to the local operations team is complete. The fleets are well maintained by trained and certified technicians.

The First Student buses are equipped with real-time tracking technology as well as relevant engagement and communications tools.  The buses are also equipped with onboard Wi-Fi and digital cameras thus controlling student behaviour while on the bus.

3. AM Bus Company

The AM bus company is a family-owned business which has been operational since the year 1993. The mission of the company has been to provide safe, timely and reliable transportation for students to and from school daily. Their services are sought by numerous public schools in Chicago and they have over 2500 clients in the city and Chicago Park District.

4. Sunrise School Bus and Charter Services

Sunrise has been partnering with school districts for over 30 years now. The company offers regular bus transport for ferrying children to and from school daily, charter services for special school trips (field trips, sports trips, etc.) and transport services for students with special needs.

Read Also: Buying a School Bus – 10 Important Points You Should Know

Sunrise buses are implemented with GPS systems so that the location of the buses can be tracked at all times. Their buses are well-maintained and they have a long track record of safety.

5. United Quick Transportation

This company has been working since the year 1990 with school districts, private and charter schools in providing daily transportation for students back and forth schools.

Their services are reliable, economical, environmentally friendly and safe. They also cater to school students’ field trips and sports groups that have to be taken to different places.

The driver acquiring procedure in United is done with great care. The drivers should be above 23 years of age and must have clean records with minimum three years’ driving experience.

The drivers should be adequately-trained by a certified team of mechanics and must be aware of the aides that are responsible to keep the buses well maintained.

6. Latino Express

Founded in 1988 Latino Express is one of the leading companies that provide daily student transportation for school districts, charter schools, day-cares, etc. The company runs over 36000 student rides in a year.

The company claims that its success is mainly due to its staff and drivers that help to transport the students safely every day. The company also specializes in transporting students with special needs.

By implementing GPS systems and digital cameras their entire fleet is modern and well equipped. Their bus fleet holds a Gold Level Green Fleet certificate which recognizes the company’s environmentally responsible practices.

7. Children’s Caravan Transportation, LLC

The service provided by Caravan Transportation is perfectly suited to transport the children of working parents to and from day-cares, private, public, and charter schools, and appointments that they have to keep up, etc. 

The bus drivers have years of driving experience and are well trained in CPR and first-aid treatment. They are trustworthy and have the safety of the children as their utmost priority.

The pick-ups and drop-offs are timely and the parents are duly kept informed of route changes and any delays in pick-up or drop-offs.

The buses have entertainment options and maintained by qualified technicians. The children are picked up from and dropped off from their doorsteps or any specified designated location.

8. Walls Transportation, Inc.

Walls Transportation was established in 1977 as a family owned Transportation Company. Started with one school bus they grew large over the years, now having a fleet that has over 30 buses and other motor coaches. The school buses can carry from 16 to 71 passengers.

Read Also: 8 Types of School Buses – Understanding the Classification

Contracted with the Public School System in Chicago, the buses run in several routes. The buses also transport homeless children and special education children.

Walls Transportation provides charter services to schools outside of Chicago as well. The company staffs are courteous, well-groomed and professionals.

Top 8 School Bus Rental Companies

Outsourcing transportation of students in a school has been successful in majority of the cases, where the authorities have partnered with private bus rental companies.

The transportation contract has stipulations under which the contractors work. This allows the authorities to focus more on the core function of education.

Schools usually engage private bus rentals when the school bus fleet is aged and there are no funds available for bus upgrades, increased transportation costs, and administrative headaches.

All these problems can be solved by outsourcing the school bus service. Private bus contractors have the singular aim of providing this service in the most cost-effective and efficient manner while maintaining the highest levels of safety and reliability. Some of the best-known school bus rental companies are listed below.

Read Also: Top 10 School Bus Companies

1. First Student, Ohio

First student ensures that students have a safe and reliable transport system to and from school. They are the leading school bus provider in the USA. With over 50000 employees and over 44000 school buses, they have transport contracts with over 1100 school districts.

Their Specialities

  • They provide end-to-end school bus transport solutions and route optimization advice
  • The staff and drivers are locally hired from among the familiar communities with a view to transporting the students safely
  • They have implemented technologies and innovations to improve operating performance, driver output and safety
  • They follow stringent maintenance programs to keep their fleet in a well-maintained condition
  • They have over 100 years of expertise in transportation

2. Royal Coach Tours, California

This company provides School Pupil Activity Bus services in California. This includes school-sponsored events such as Proms, Field trips, Sports events, Grad Nites, etc.  

The buses are certified to transport children during school-sanctioned events. They have the requisite charter bus certification called SPAB (School Pupil Activity Bus) and are regulated by the California Highway Patrol.

Why they are special

  • They are extensively trained in defensive driving techniques, vehicle inspections, and mechanical flaw detection.
  • They offer modern fleets with different sizes of coaches, configurations and seating capacities; they have 56-seater, 47-seater, and 36-seater coaches
  • They have all the safety features that are required
  • They have been in business for about 60 years
  • Their buses are equipped with event data recorders, tire monitoring systems, and fire-fighting systems.

3. StorerCoachways, California

This company started off in the year 1952 when the need for transporting students with special needs increased. This company was founded by Walter and Gladys Storer after they submitted a bid and volunteered to transport 13 handicapped children from their homes to the school. 

After the contract that was in force for one year, Storer Transportation Services was contracted to carry mentally retarded children to the Prescott School. Soon children with hearing and visual disabilities started using this service.

This company specialized in the door-to-door transport of these handicapped students. The original station wagons and stretch limousines that served as buses were painted school bus yellow and fitted with flashing lights. Some of the later vans of STS had electric lifts installed onto the rear side of the van.

Why they stand out

  • They have a modern fleet of motorcoaches.
  • They offer different sizes of coaches, configurations and seating capacities; they have 54-seater, 45-seater, and 21-seater and 11-seater coaches.
  • The coaches are embedded with the latest amenities.
  • Their rental rates are very competitive in the marketplace.

4. Transportation Charter Services, California

Transportation Charter Services (TCS) has been serving the people of Southern California with SPAB certified coaches for a long time now. The company services educational groups that are inbound in addition to local ones.

The company has been functional in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas for more than three decades now. The company’s mission has been to provide end-to-end safe, reliable and comfortable group transportation for any client.

Why choose TCS

  • The company has the highest safety rating in the charter bus industry
  • Their buses have all the amenities including luxury seating, Wi-Fi on board, and AV hook-ups.
  • The bus fleet are new (2008 model or newer)
  • The school buses can hold 54 passengers
  • The drivers are trained to be courteous and are always on time during the trip
  • The company staff is always willing for last-minute route or itinerary changes
  • The school buses are available for sports groups transfers, day trips or overnight trips from schools and ferrying students to and from campsites
  • The buses are SPAB certified
  • The buses undergo the requisite inspections by the CHP regularly (every 45 days or at the completion of 3000 miles), fully insured and licensed by the state

Read Also: 8 Types of School Buses – Understanding the Classification

5. DATTCO, Inc, Connecticut

This company operates over 1000 school buses in Rhode Island and Connecticut every single day.The company is family owned and has been providing service for over six decades. DATTCO provides charter services to school groups of all sizes for different kinds of trips.

This company started providing school bus services in 1949 and now services over 30 school districts. The company currently transports over 110000 students on a daily basis during a school year.

Their Specialities

  • They have over six decades’ experience in transporting children to and from school
  • The company has a fleet size of 1350 school buses
  • Dattco is an authorized dealer for the IC brand of school buses
  • Their training & Safety department has two Master Instructors and 19 State Certified Instructors on rolls
  • They run student safety programs in schools
  • Their buses are designed to cater to special needs students
  • They are known for their high-quality driver training programs
  • The company provides an instantaneous and  unique way for parents to find their ward’s route information
  • The company has 60 certified mechanics and 8 road service vehicles (fully-equipped)
  • DATTCO is affiliated to the Association of Boards of Education, State School Transportation Association and many more organizations connected to the administration of schools

6. The Free Enterprise System, Indiana

The company was started in the year 1976 as a family-owned business and they started serving the US Postal Service by hauling mail for them. They are still providing this service.

Maintaining consistent and superior levels of service they have been able to reach very high levels of reputation. They provide a gamut of services including school trips. They provide safe and premium transportation for school groups on their different trips.

Why Choose Free Enterprise

  • They have a diverse fleet and different coach options that can accommodate student groups of any size
  • Their coaches feature disc brakes, no tires that are recapped, automatic slack adjusters, reflective decals, LED lights, ABS brake systems, etc., among others
  • Their coach driver are chosen after a rigorous background check and are trained frequently
  • The coach drivers are subject to random drug screening
  • The drivers are regularly trained in customer service aspects

7. Northfield Lines, Minnesota

Benjamin Bus has been ferrying schoolchildren in Minnesota for many years now. Truly caring about the children they transport, they have established a reputation for themselves.

They work in close contact with the school district administration to plan their bus stops and bus routes. Their services include daily student transportation, special needs students’ transportation, and field trips for students, summer school and camp trips.

They are known for the expert training they provide to school bus drivers. In addition to behind-the-wheel training, they provide training manuals and videos to the drivers.

The new drivers are even subjected to a ride-along evaluation by a driver with experience. They have to attend regular safety meetings. The drivers have to do a pre-trip safety check before any bus departure.

Why they stand out

  • They are experts in routing and scheduling
  • They adhere to strict fleet preventive maintenance schedules with first-rate facilities and equipment
  • They conduct numerous school bus safety programs for school children and the school authorities
  • They subject their drivers to random drug testing procedures

8. Arrow Stage Lines, Nebraska

Started in the year 1928, this company provides many services including school bus rentals. This bus rental company offers school bus transportation for students in select markets such as Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska.

With a high safety record, the bus service providers are known for their on-time record. Their buses are known to travel long distances without any kind of mechanical disruption.

With a high safety record, the bus service providers are known for their on-time record. Their buses are known to travel long distances without any kind of mechanical disruption.

Their specialities

They employ top drivers and have a nationwide network operating in many states. They follow an elaborate preventive maintenance system. Their drivers are well trained in safety procedures, customer service and operational procedures.

They are expected to be physically fit from the fitness tests that held regularly. The company is known to have invested millions of dollars on its buses to keep customers safe.

Read Also: Buying a School Bus – 10 Important Points You Should Know

Wrap Up

School districts are under great pressure to deliver safety to the students and to give them a good quality education experience. Contracting student transportation helps the school districts to make substantial savings which they can redirect to making education better and therefore more sought after.

Buying a School Bus – 10 Important Points You Should Know

Buses are in high demand in the market and are purchased by different organizations. However, the buyer always finds it a difficult job to know where to begin.

Preliminary research is anyway required as when you would buy some other vehicle. Then, it is all about sourcing the vehicle and finally negotiating to get the best deal.

But it is important to realize that there are a few factors that set buses apart from other vehicles that you are otherwise familiar with.

As in other walks of life, planning is the most important factor. You should have a clear image of the school bus that you want to have. The following points will help you to start on the right note:

Read Also: Top 10 School Bus Companies

1. Size

The range of passenger capacity of a bus is very varied. Whereas there are buses that carry single digit numbers, there are others that ferry 300 people.

Larger buses are difficult to manoeuvre on the road and it is difficult to find parking space for such vehicles. For such buses, both the initial investment and the long-term running costs are higher.

For any school, the cost of the bus is a major factor. Hence, for a school, choosing a bus with a capacity that closely fits the number of students to be accommodated is important.

2. Parking

Before buying the school bus, it is important to ensure that the school property, as well as the school district, has the space required for the vehicle to be parked.  There may be local regulations that prohibit parking of the bus in your premise.

3. Amenities in the bus

Buses are built for a specific set of travellers and this is reflected in their design. A school bus would necessarily have doors with secure lock systems, no cargo bays or raised floor.

School buses are required to shuttle passengers carrying a minimum amount of baggage. This bus would surely need racks to store the bags and other accessories.  A school bus does not need any storage space outside the main cabin.

Ensure that you purchase a school bus that already has all the amenities at the time of purchase. Installation at a later date becomes an expensive affair and is inconvenient.

4. Type of Engine

There have never been more options than today as far as the type of engine is concerned. The types of engines available include petrol, diesel, hybrids, and buses powered by an electric battery. 

The next important point to keep in mind is the heavy use that the bus will see in the future years. This factor has to be kept in mind to match the operational costs and the fuel costs of the bus.

5. Engine Capacity

Choose a bus with an engine that is suited for the terrain on which the bus will be driven. Buses are built to meet standard needs. However, you may sometimes need a powerful engine for the bus.

Larger engine lasts for a longer time than a smaller one because it does not have to work as hard. The smaller one will have to work in its full capacity.

Read Also: 10 Important Benefits of Propane Based School Buses

6. Types of School Buses

There are different bus models to choose from. However, some of them are more popular with the bus drivers because of driving comfort and ease of repair from the mechanics’ point of view.

However the most popular school bus models are

  • Conventional school buses
  • Transit style bus
  • Rear Engine Buses

7. Budget

It is important to understand that it is not always wise to save some money, especially if it means sacrificing some of the criteria mentioned above.

However, budgets are likely to be the largest part of the decision when purchasing a large and costly vehicle like a bus. Firstly, work out the maximum price or an upper limit.

It is also a good idea to buy used buses. Such a purchase may provide better value for your money.

Or you can buy a new bus if your budget is reasonably big and your needs are long term. Otherwise used buses are the right option.

8. Safety

The safety aspects of a school bus are of utmost importance. All safety features must be present on the bus before you purchase the vehicle.

Inspect to see if the airbags are working and the anti-lock brakes are in place.

9. Customization

You can add any number of customized features including safety seats, seat belts, handrails, wheelchair lifts, seat restraints, etc. You can even tailor the electrical and HVAC systems according to specific requirements and the regional climate.

 Modern school buses have a number of additional features that facilitate communications, TV systems, Internet Wi-Fi, GPS trackers, transmitters and receivers, according to requirements.

10. Buy in terms of your needs

1.Buying a new bus

Manufacturers and licensed resellers often show you the latest models when you start to shop. You can choose the dealer whose bus seems to have all the requirements that you have identified.

You can search for local bus dealers and see if you can recognize their models. You can also speak to bus owners, if you know any, and ask for their experiences as far as reliability and operational economy of the vehicle is concerned. 

Read Also: What Are The Advantages Of A School Bus Tracking Software?

2. Buying a used bus

Used buses can be found at auctions and also with dealers that sell new vehicles. Sometimes it is possible to land buses in decent condition at great bargain prices.

It may be a safer option to buy the bus from a licensed reseller than from an auction. They may allow you to test-drive before you make the payment and therefore it is safer.

You can also inspect the bus to ensure that there are no major issues that are hidden out of sight. Any initial maintenance that needs to be done can be incorporated into the cost of the bus after due discussions with the reseller.