Top 10 School Travel News Magazine Articles of 2021

Top 10 School Travel News Magazine Articles of 2021

As School Transportation News editors reflect on events in 2021, articles related to driver shortages and school bus safety were among STN magazine’s most popular articles..

However, this year three of the top 10 magazine articles reported on the importance and progress of electric buses, a topic that has certainly flourished this year, especially as the federal government has committed unprecedented funding to the purchase of zero- and low-emission vehicles. .

We ended the year recognizing Garage Stars (August), Technology Super Users (September), Rising Superstars (October) and of course STN’s Transportation Manager of the Year (November). If you haven’t already, take the time to read about these exceptional and upcoming people.

Driver shortages continue nationwide and school bus accidents occur for a multitude of reasons. Professionals continue to seek alternatives like electric school buses and increased wages while continuing to promote school bus safety.

We are grateful for the hard working professionals who have dedicated their time and appreciation to this industry.

The following news articles are ranked in order of popularity and show publication date and reader views, as reported by Google Analytics.

10. Garage Stars: 2021 Shop Highlights. Released August.

Although school buses remained parked for the majority of the 2020-2021 school year across the country, the unsung heroes of the store still awoke every morning to make sure the school buses were in working order. , to prepare for their return to the road. The Garage Stars, which recognized 10 maintenance professionals, included Stephanie Foster, who is in her eighth year in student transportation as a store assistant at Pell City Schools in Alabama. She is the second woman in the state to earn her certification as a school bus mechanic.

9. The first student, NextEra Energy Leaders, discusses bus electrification. Published in June.

In this article, First Student announced its partnership with NextEra Energy to provide electric buses that benefit both students and the environment. NextEra Energy is the world’s largest renewable energy company. It has the ability to deploy electric fleets, complementing First Student well since the company is an expert in transporting students. By coming together, they can bring the best of both worlds, operation, security and maintenance as well as renewable energies.

8. The fight against driver shortages continues despite pledges of funding. Published in June.

Amid the pandemic, many school districts did not need as many drivers to transport students to and from school because classes were mostly remote or hybrid, leading some districts or businesses to lay off their workforce. However, as in-person learning resumed, many districts were facing greater driver shortages than before the pandemic began. Drivers quit or retire due to vaccination requirements, unequal pay and many other reasons.

7. It’s not just about salary. Published in February.

When it comes to transportation operations, mechanics are often the key that keeps school bus operations together. In this article, a mechanic who wished to remain anonymous told STN that despite earning $27 an hour, he is paid the same or less than a district maintenance worker. This fact does not sit with him. Although he explained that his direct supervisor values ​​his position and shares garage responsibilities fairly, the mechanic believes his school district would eliminate his position first in response to large-scale budget cuts.

6. Essential items. Published in February.

In this article, STN received an oversight of basic staff necessities when planning new facilities, which could cause operations to miss the bus. The importance of access to toilets was one of the topics that was highlighted the most, as staff members are often older. The article also touched on the importance of the workplace so that staff have the space they need to work without having to cram into a small office. Transport Director Michael McClure advocated in the article creating comfort for staff and shares the difference that comfort can make to staff morale.

5. Contemplate the benefits. Published in February.

With a new presidential administration in place and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage with multiple variants, school districts are faced with many decisions and changes. This article looks at some of the changes that will be made, such as updating its school bus fleet. Some school districts consider several key factors when purchasing a new bus, primarily maintenance requirements and the cost of diesel engines. Meanwhile, electric buses have certainly caught the eye, as President Joe Biden has signaled his interest in school bus electrification nationwide. School districts reluctant to go electric often cite the upfront cost, which can be three times that of a comparable diesel bus. Manufacturers are also increasingly recommending that school districts purchase new purpose-built electric buses rather than existing vehicles.

4. Clean and safe? Published in March.

Schools continue to be challenged to sanitize buses and facilities as they learn about chemical use and discover new ventilation technologies. Amid the global pandemic and sometimes contentious public debate, some schools are reopening, while at the time of this writing, other districts have defaulted to remote and hybrid learning models. Transportation staff continue to clean and disinfect bus surfaces, which poses some challenges, while fleet managers are considering air-purifying technologies as funds become available.

3. The road to success. Published in October.

This article features STN’s rising star, Rick Walterscheid, who has had a lifelong commitment to serving his local community through school transportation. He often shares stories from his past and his career journey with his colleagues to build camaraderie and motivate them to perform at their best. As Senior Director of Transportation and Special Projects for the Texas School District, he helped purchase 280 new diesel school buses, built a state-of-the-art transportation facility, implemented new technologies and has hired and retained a staff of 320 people, including 200 full-time drivers. Read about him and the other nine rising stars in October.

2. Bridging the digital divide. Published in June.

School districts are expanding the use case for Wi-Fi hotspots on school buses, even as 5G heralds the promise of even greater connectivity. As virtual learning began the 2020-2021 school year in Santa Ana, Calif., following the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of callers were complaining about virtual learning difficulties each week. Specifically, more than 50% of calls were about poor wireless connectivity, essential for running remote classes. Local contractor JFK Transportation responded by sending bus drivers in school vans, equipped with 5G Wi-Fi hotspots in the community. This is an example of a single district that has used the capabilities of Wi-Fi hotspots on school buses to help bridge the digital divide.

1. Alt Shift. Published in June.

Alternative fuel and energy buses are growing in popularity among private entrepreneurs, with propane maintaining a strong position even as the development of electrification accelerates. As the case for electric school buses continues to grow, propane has become the alternative fuel of choice among private entrepreneurs in their campaign to reduce their collective carbon footprint on the world’s environmental future.

Amanda P. Whitten