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A Superintendent’s Thoughts about Pupil Transportation Services Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation “Meeting the Challenges of Transportation” 44 th Annual Conference Jekyll Island Convention Center June 19, 2008. General Thoughts. No Child Left Behind – literally!.

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A Superintendent’s Thoughts aboutPupil Transportation ServicesGeorgia Association for Pupil Transportation“Meeting the Challenges of Transportation”44th Annual ConferenceJekyll Island Convention CenterJune 19, 2008

general thoughts
General Thoughts

No Child Left Behind – literally!

High-quality, safe, and cost effective transportation services

Understanding that pupil transportation services is a highly complex operation and a very visible service

why is it so complex
Why is it so complex?
  • Routing and scheduling
  • Statutes and regulations
  • Driver recruitment/training/retention
  • Vehicle maintenance, repair, replacement
  • School bell schedules
  • Geography/road networks
  • Student density
  • School facilities
  • Magnet schools/special programs
  • Special needs students
  • Extracurricular activities and field trips
  • Fuel procurement/costs
primary components of operation
Primary Components of Operation
  • Safety
  • Personnel
  • Fleet Maintenance
  • Accountability
  • School buses represent the safest form of transportation on the road
  • Design of construction
  • Operating condition of buses
  • Planning of school bus routes
  • Location of loading zones
  • Highly-trained drivers

Over the past few years, motorists have become more aggressive on the road.

Strongly Agree 57%

Agree 27%

Disagree 4%

Strongly Disagree 12%


Just as teachers are the most critical component for student academic success, bus drivers are the most critical component of effective pupil transportation services.

Bus drivers must manage their “classrooms” with their backs to 70+ students while driving down the road in a safe manner.


Why did you become a bus driver?


What would make your job more satisfying?


School site administrators are actively interested in the behavior of their students on school buses.

Strongly Agree 12%

Agree 30%

Disagree 41%

Strongly Disagree 17%


Building administrators should be required to ride a school bus at least once a semester to understand some of the concerns of the bus drivers.

Strongly Agree 72%

Agree 21%

Disagree 4%

Strongly Disagree 3%


What is your greatest challenge, either inside of the bus or outside the bus?


Violence has increased on school buses in recent years.

Strongly Agree 42%

Agree 40%

Disagree 12%

Strongly Disagree 6%


School bus drivers are adequately equipped to handle behavior problems on the bus.

Strongly Agree 4%

Agree 20%

Disagree 44%

Strongly Disagree 32%


Bus drivers should have the authority to suspend students from the bus.

Strongly Agree 39%

Agree 25%

Disagree 17%

Strongly Disagree 18%


Which area of driver training could use more emphasis at your operation

Passenger management 53%

Behind the wheel 19%

Emergency procedures 16%

Dealing with special needs 11%


The school transportation operation must present an image of professionalism at all times. Often the school bus driver is the only contact a parent may have with the school district for several weeks or months.

Drivers must present a good public image of pupil transportation services at all times.

Practice Five-Star Service

fleet maintenance
Fleet Maintenance
  • Scheduled maintenance
  • Number of mechanical breakdowns
  • Parts purchase per bus
  • Keeping buses clean

Must be data-driven

Student load counts

Seating capacity

Run times

On-time arrivals

Percentage of eligible students being transported

Miles traveled

Fuel consumed

Fleet inventory

Number of accidents/traffic violations

Parent calls

Employee attendance/absenteeism/overtime pay


Transportation funding in Georgia is woefully underfunded.


Fuel Prices

No idling policies

Most efficient routes

Field trips/extracurricular activities

Transporting only eligible students

Beginning/ending points for routes/drivers

Transportation fees

Amending school calendars

special needs students
Special Needs Students

Legal obligations: IDEA and Section 504

Must provide transportation for students to benefit from their IEPs

Accommodating wheelchair students

Providing aides or special assistance

Customizing bus routes

Providing alternative transportation when necessary

Transport with nondisabled peers whenever possible

special needs students23
Special Needs Students

Section 504 students

Cannot discriminate because of disabilities

Must provide reasonable accommodations

special needs students24
Special Needs Students

Policy Pitfalls

Lack of communication or support

Suspending students from buses

Overly restricting or segregating student transportation

Making blanket, overly rigid rules

Forgetting the small details

special needs students25
Special Needs Students

Insuring Compliance

Provide adequate/appropriate training

Engage the Transportation Department

Create backup and emergency plans

Open lines of communication

continuous improvement efforts
Continuous Improvement Efforts

Develop a Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP)

Establish performance standards

Training staff

Develop a plan for the opening of school

How can you improve your service?

Policies Technology

Operations Funding


final thoughts
Final Thoughts

Recruiting, training, retaining quality employees

Being accountable and data-driven

Understanding that Pupil Transportation Services contribute to student success

Communicating effectively

Presenting a positive image at all times

We all are in this together!