School Bus Fleet

July 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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12 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • J U L Y 2 0 1 4 S CHOOL BUS FLEET's 2014 Contractor Survey found that respondents are taking several steps to reduce their expenses. Almost three-fourths (73%) of re- spondents reported that they per- form the majority of their school bus maintenance in house as opposed to outsourcing the work, and 60% said that they have reorganized their routes to ensure that they are as eff- cient as possible. Standardizing their feets and run- ning buses powered by alternative fuels have also helped respondents cut costs. In a shift from last year, more than four-ffths (85%) of respondents said that they have some degree of school bus driver shortage, up from 73% in 2013. Contractors are addressing this by recruiting new drivers through var- ious means. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they have found advertising (in the newspaper or on banners, on TV or via the radio, or online) to be most effective. Word of mouth and/or referrals from exist- ing drivers came in as a close second, with one-third (33%) of respondents saying this has been most effective for them. New to this year 's survey was a question on the impact of a regula- tion that took effect May 21 requir- ing that certifed medical examiners be used for school bus driver physi- cals. Thirty-seven percent of respon- dents said that the regulation would increase the cost of the physicals. Also, although it's not represent- ed in a chart, we asked respondents what they consider to be the most pressing federal legislative issue im- pacting pupil transportation. Thirty- two percent cited seat belts, and 21% of respondents cited the Affordable Care Act. Other responses to that question ranged from sleep apnea regulations to students riding on public tran- sit vehicles instead of school buses to the federal fuel tax exemption for yellow buses. Almost half (49%) of respondents to this year 's survey have a feet of fewer than 100 buses. For this survey, a questionnaire was e-mailed to executives and managers at school bus contractor companies. We received 55 useable responses. Our thanks to all participants. Nearly three-fourths of respon- dents to this year's survey report that performing most bus main- tenance in house has yielded cost savings, and 60% say that route reorganization has helped. With a large proportion of com- panies reporting some degree of bus driver shortage, recruitment is a priority, and 37% of those surveyed say that advertising is most effective. Contractors also weigh in on regulations and legislative issues. BY KELLY AGUINALDO Contractors Focus on Cutting Costs, Driver Recruitment 2014 Contractor Survey

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