Zonar App Helps School Buses Track Student Passengers

Zonar App Helps School Buses Track Student Passengers

The school year is starting up in districts all across the country, and many bus companies are implementing new measures to keep students safe as they travel to and from school. In densely-populated urban areas, it’s particularly important for school bus drivers to be able to accurately track students and make sure they reach their destinations safely.

That’s why Zonar, a Seattle-based fleet management company, is offering a new app that automatically counts students as they board and exit their school bus. In addition to helping bus drivers make sure all students are accounted for, the app also eliminates the need for paperwork to track students with special needs.

The app can also be integrated with Zonar’s Z Pass system. Z Pass uses RFID cards to track students and notify parents if their child fails to board their bus, or departs at the wrong stop. Parents and school administrators can also log into a secure online portal that allows them to monitor travel activity in real time. According to Zonar’s own estimates, roughly one third of the nation’s school buses are using its RFID technology to track students.

By offering both parents and administrators an extra measure of peace of mind, Zonar’s ridership tracking system is being embraced by school districts throughout the nation. Ultimately, this type of tracking system could become a standard feature on school buses in the future.

Looking for a great school bus to round out your fleet? You can find a variety of competitively-priced used options right here at Northwest bus sales. Browse our inventory online, or give us a call today to speak with a representative.

Now Might Be a Great Time to Become a School Bus Driver

School bus companies all over the country are currently scrambling to make up for a driver shortage

Looking for a new driving gig? School bus companies all over the country are currently scrambling to make up for a driver shortage that has forced schools in some areas to delay class schedules and suspend bus routes. These bus companies are in immediate need of new drivers, and many of them are offering special incentives and referral bonuses in an attempt to attract qualified hires.

According to a recent survey in School Bus Fleet Magazine, twenty-two percent of the nation’s 50 largest school bus operators called the shortage “severe,” while 5 percent said they were “desperate” for new drivers. All of the companies surveyed said they were facing a shortage to some degree. With the new school year starting up, the shortage is already causing some serious headaches for parents, teachers and administrators.

In Muncie, Indiana, for example, schools closed for two consecutive days while the district worked to overcome transportation issues caused by the driver shortage. Meanwhile in Hawaii, the state has been consolidating and even suspending some bus routes in Maui until the driver shortage is resolved.

Now, bus companies are working overtime to recruit new talent and fill vacant driver positions. In places where the driver shortage has been particularly disruptive, these companies are also offering increased pay and benefits to new drivers. For drivers that already have their CDL, this is a great opportunity to make some extra money during the school year.

Stay tuned for more updates from your source for great new and used buses at competitive prices – Northwest Bus Sales.

Some School Districts Turning to Propane-Powered Buses

Some School Districts Turning to Propane-Powered Buses

In recent years, as public school districts have struggled to cope with tight budgetary restrictions, administrators have been forced to find new, creative ways to save money wherever possible. In many districts, particularly in the Midwest, schools have begun adopting propane-powered buses to cut the cost of fuel.
 
The Cedar Rapids School District in Iowa, for example, recently purchased seven new propane-powered buses to replace aging diesel models. These buses typically cost about $5,000 more than their diesel counterparts, but school districts can quickly recoup that loss in reduced fuel prices. Other notable districts that have adopted propane-powered school buses include Omaha, Chicago and Philadelphia.
 
Cost-cutting measure might be the primary reason that many school districts are adding propane-powered buses to their fleets, but it’s not the only one. Some school districts have begun making the transition to propane-power in anticipation of stricter emissions requirements on diesel vehicles from the EPA. Other districts in cold climates have found that propane-powered motors perform better in sub-freezing temperatures than diesel engines. Because propane burns far cleaner than diesel, it has also become popular in school districts with environmentally-friendly policy initiatives.
 
There is, however, one notable drawback to propane-powered school buses. It’s not always easy to find a propane refueling station on the road, so these buses aren’t ideal for long field trips or distant sporting events. Until propane refueling options become more widespread, school districts will likely have to keep a few diesel models on hand for long distance trips.
 
Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for quality new and used buses – Northwest Bus Sales.
 

In West Virginia, School Buses Will Soon Have Wi-Fi

In West Virginia, School Buses Will Soon Have Wi-Fi

These days, you can find internet access just about everywhere – from the local coffee shop down the street to a base camp on Mt. Everest. Soon, you’ll be able to add school buses in Kanawha County, West Virginia to that list. Over the course of the next year, more than 150 buses in the school district will be retrofitted with Wi-Fi.
 
Many students in the rural area have unusually long bus rides, and school administrators hope that if they provide students with internet access on buses, they’ll take the opportunity to complete homework assignments on their rides to and from school. Many parents in the area, however, are not sold on the idea.
 
Some argue that, rather than using the internet to do homework, students will simply surf the web and browse social media sites instead. Others argue that the $63,000 a year it will take to pay for the Wi-Fi could be better spent elsewhere (on new text books and seat belts for school buses, for instance). “There are schools that need books and heat and all this other stuff, but then they want to spend money to put Wi-Fi on a school bus,” said one concerned parent in an interview with local TV news outlet WSAZ.
 
Whether or not the idea will work as administrators have planned remains to be seen. What is sure, however, is that we’re likely to see internet access coming to more buses in the near future. Many cities are already offering free Wi-Fi access in their municipal bus fleets. Soon, rather than being a wasted hour in the day, a commute on a bus could provide passengers with new opportunities for productivity and innovation.
 
Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for new and used buses – Northwest Bus Sales.
 

See a School Bus Become a Food Truck

See a School Bus Become a Food Truck

A Netherlands based company, appropriately named the Food Truck Company, has devoted itself to repurposing used vehicles for up-and-coming food truck companies. The process of turning a public transport vehicle into a roving kitchen is no small undertaking, and now thanks to a video the company recently posted on their YouTube page, we can watch the whole process from start to finish. This particular bus was converted for the Dutch food truck company Felix.
 
Food trucks have become hot items on the streets of many American Cities in recent years, offering their patrons fresh and flexible food options at a moment’s notice. Virtually none of these vehicles start out as food trucks. Rather, companies such as the Food Truck Company do complete overhauls of existing transit buses, plumbing them for water and gas and outfitting them with all the equipment they’ll need to prepare food on the go.
 
Food trucks are an exciting new business prospect for many entrepreneurs, and now we’re finally able to see first-hand how a bus becomes a food truck.
 
Check it out for yourself!
 

 

Interested in starting your very own food truck company? We have a number of cost-effective used options on our lot that are great candidates for conversions. Take a look around our inventory page and see what catches your eye.

 
Want to learn more about any of the vehicles available at Northwest Bus Sales? Give us a call today for more information.