Several weeks into the school year, and things are off to an exciting start! We at BusWhere have been listening to parents and staff all over the US as they share their experiences starting a new school year. Some highlights of what users are reporting regarding start dates, budgets and technology:
School Start Dates
We were surprised to see the variability in when schools start! The first day of school in New Mexico was back on August 13, while many of their friends on the east coast were still comfortably in the middle of a long summer vacation. With New Mexico’s temperatures reaching into the 90s on some hot August days, here’s hoping those buses have strong air conditioning. But the prize for “Earliest Start Date in 2018” goes to Cobb County in Atlanta, GA, where kids were back at their desks on July 31.
This year as always, budgets are an issue for schools, including transportation departments. We have heard a variety of experiences, from lockdowns on all spending to a district that implied that transportation always gets what it needs because it services student safety. We certainly hope that schools continue to get the funding they need on all accounts, including what is needed to run a safe and efficient transportation system.
What’s the latest tech on school buses? While only a few years ago bus companies were reluctant to install trackers, now they are responding to pressure from schools and parents to install GPS trackers on their fleet. Some schools are also getting grant money from local and state governments to install mobile hotspots on buses where students have especially long commutes. Cameras, both inside and outside the bus, are also becoming more common. Perhaps surprisingly, bus drivers are frequently in favor of the new technology, which is important for security and can provide important backup to their version of events when there are two different stories being told about what happened on the bus.
We love hearing your back-to-school stories: it’s important information for us as we continually work to improve BusWhere in the months ahead. So thank you!