Must Have Safety Features in a School Bus


Must have safety features in a school bus

When purchasing a used school bus, there are must have safety features in a school bus. Safety is of huge importance. And here are a few safety features that are a must-have in your school bus. If they are not available in a used school bus for sale, give some serious thought about adding these features after your purchase.

1.    A high degree of visibility

Your school bus should have a high degree of visibility. They have to stand out amongst pedestrians and motorists. That is the reason why they are painted bright yellow. Make sure the bus has the extended stop arms that pops-ups when the school bus stops, which will notify others that the children are wither boarding or alighting from it.

The drivers also have to clearly see the roads, making sure the windshields are clean and well visible.

2. Advanced GPS system and features

Your bus has to have advanced geolocation features that help the driver by indicating the exact speed, location, etc. This helps the driver follow the planned route and stay within the speed limit, and avoid any unforeseen hazards.

3. Anchored seats for the children

The seats on the school bus have to be designed to be well anchored in place. They should have extra padding to avoid injuries. The seats should have high backs, which are design to be firm and not move from their place in the event of a Collison or crash.

4. Child Check-Mate System

The CHILD Check Mate system is an electronic system that reminds the driver to check the bus to see if there are any children that have fallen asleep, during the drive so they don’t miss their designated stops.

5. First aid boxes

Having a first aid box is essential and would be very helpful in accidents and injuries.

6. Fire extinguisher installation

Fires can break out anytime in a school bus, and fire extinguishers should be installed on the school bus in multiple locations. Regular inspection and maintenance of the school bus will reduce the probability of a fire occurring because any potential fire hazard will be seen and fixed.

Fire suppression systems should also be employed, which will activate certain fire extinguishing features once a set temperature has been reached. Heat sensors should also be installed to monitor any abnormal temperature rise.

7. Compartmentalization design

School buses should use the compartmentalization design. Unlike other vehicles, the compartmentalization design helps spread the forces generated due to crashes or collisions in a different way than traditional vehicles. These buses feature seats that are designed to absorb energy and are closely spaced. These help keep the children safe.

8. CCTV inside buses

Real-time monitoring with CCTV cameras in buses will help prevent accidents and incidents and will be very useful to help reconstruct the events leading to an incident. This reduces the bad behaviors of students, drivers, and others.

9. Placement of mirrors on the school bus

Properly placed mirrors in a school bus will enable the driver to see other motorists, objects, and students near or inside the bus. The mirrors should comply with motor safety standards. Theses 7 mirrors are advised for use in a school bus

  • Top-left glass mirror
  • Right convex mirror
  • Left convex mirror
  • Left cross-view mirror
  • Right cross-view mirror
  • Top Right flat glass mirror
  • Rear-view mirror (Interior)

10. Windows and horizontal bars

The windows should be fitted with horizontal bars to prevent students from putting their heads, hands, or any objects out through the window,

11. Emergency exits

All school buses should have multiple emergencies exist in case there is need for a quick exit, where time is of the essence.

12. Locks for school bus doors

The school bus doors should securely lock when the bus is in motion. Locks should come from trusted manufactures.

13. Lettering on the bus

The words “School Bus” must be painted on a school bus, in big, bold and easy to read sizes, that conform to safety standards. The telephone number of the bus should also be written.

These must have safety features in a school bus are essential. Safety features should help provide the safest school bus ride to the children.

How to Properly Maintain a Used School Bus 

how to maintain a used school bus

Maintaining a used school bus is essential, especially a used school bus if you want to make the most out of its life. Proper used school bus maintenance will not only extend the school bus’s life but it will also make its operation less painful, less of the breakdowns, less mechanical headaches. If you properly maintain your bus you will also protect the lives of your riders. The first thing to know is that proper maintenance is regular maintenance. You have to regularly check for any issues in your school bus.

Here are some guides on how to properly maintain a used school bus after every trip.

1. Proper refueling

Refueling your school bus can seem like a no-brainer, but did you know there is a preferable way, more specifically, time to refuel your school bus. This is important if you want to properly maintain your used school bus. If possible, always try to refill your school bus in the evenings or nights rather than in the mornings before trips. We do this so that overnight condensation caused by water vapor in an empty fuel tank will not occur. The presence of water in the fuel will eventually cause harm to the engines in the long run. 

2. How to park the bus properly

At the end of the day, it is advised that after you set the parking brake and set the transmission to neutral, instead of quickly turning off the engines, you should let it slowly idle for some time, as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. Letting the engine of your school bus slowly idle will lubricate all the parts, which is especially important for diesel vehicles, which most school buses are. 

3. Inspecting the interior

It is always a good habit to check your interior after every trip. The most convenient time to do this is while your engines idle after the trip. Use that tie to check for any interior damage to the seats and windows. If possible, fix the damages before the next trip. Also, check the seats for sleeping students, any lost books or items and properly secure them. 

4. Maintain Proper Hygiene With Your Used School Bus

Maintaining proper bus hygiene is always a good thing. Sweep the floors and steps. This will encourage a clean bus policy. And also, wash the interior of the school bus periodically, including seats, windows, fabrics, floor rugs etc. 

5. Inspecting the exterior

Always inspect the exterior for any possible damages. Check for burned-out bulbs, deformed body panels, even the school bus’s underbody if possible, or any other issues that may need to be repaired. If the repairs are quick and easy, you can do them right away or get a professional mechanic for more intricate repairs.

By the time all the inspection is done, the engine should have idled long enough, get in the bus, turn off all the electrical components, shut off the engines, remove the keys and properly secure the bus until your next trip.

Regular inspection will help you catch any little problems before they grow into more complicated problems.

Following these steps regularly should ensure that your bus remains healthy and you experience a hitch-free time while it is alive.

Tips on Preparing Your Used School Bus for Sale

preparing your school bus for sale

 Have a used school bus you want to sell? Here are some things you need to know.

Selling a used school bus or going into the school bus resell business is not so straightforward. Here are some things you need to know to provide the best quality product to your buyers.

  1.     Buy the Used School Bus That People Want to Buy

It is essential that you buy a bus that is selling on the resale market, a bus that buyers ant. Find out what a buyer might want in their school buses, some features may not be necessary for you, but they are to your buyers. So consider that. Buyers are always interested in the unique safety features and technologies that will protect their passengers and keep the bus current with the times.

Going in for a clean, non-polluting bus option will also be of great help when reselling. Buyers want something that is as clean as possible to the environment, and you cannot go wrong with that.

  1.      Prepare Your Bus by Keeping Detailed Records

If you have a school bus you are planning to sell or buying a school bus to sell, keeping a detailed record of that bus’s maintenance is very much advised. Caring for that bus is critical if you are looking to get a high resale value. Buyers want to know what has been changed, altered, the bus’s condition, and how long the bus is expected to live. They want the confidence that you are selling something useful and of quality.

   Clean and Sanitize Your School Bus

When selling a used school bus, first impressions matter a lot. It is essential that when you are selling a bus, you are selling a clean school bus. You want to ensure the safety of the children that would ride on your bus.

When cleaning, pay close attention to the places that children are most likely to hold onto, The stability bars that run through the middle of the bus, the handlebars on the back of the seat, windows, window ledges, and the seats, etc.

Clean Your School Bus First

Before sanitizing the bus, you first of all have to clean it. Clean the bus’s floors and windows thoroughly, preferable with the use of a handheld vacuum cleaner that will suck out the dust rather than a broom that could spread the bus in the air. Investing in cleaning equipment for your school bus would be good. You could even install a HEPA filter in the vacuum cleaner to remove microbes and allergens from the surfaces.

You can also use soap and water for the floors, making sure to dry it off completely.

The next thing to look out for is the fabrics, carpets or rugs, window drapes, and seat covers. These fabrics have to be removed and cleaned separately in detergent and hot water and with a disinfectant. Always make sure the materials are completely dry before you put them back.

Also, clean the air conditioners and vents, wipe with a damp cloth and spray with a disinfectant.

Now You Can Disinfect The Bus

Once the cleaning is done, the next thing is to disinfect the bus. All surfaces have to be sanitized, paying close attention to the high contamination areas. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer for the disinfection. Wipe all surfaces with a clean cloth dipped in the sanitizer, then spray the disinfectant inside the bus.

Here are some sanitizing tips.

  •         While cleaning, always go from least soiled to the most soiled surface
  •         Sanitize before and after every trip
  •         Wear gloves while sanitizing
  •         Ensure COVID-19 safety measures are put into place

Following these basic guidelines should ensure you provide a safe product to the people that buy your bus.


Thomas Built Buses has introduced a new feature for some of its school buses: auto-reversing doors.  The first-of-its-kind feature is available on all versions of Thomas Built Buses’ Saf-T-Liner C2 and allows the front entry doors to reopen automatically if they sense an object or obstruction in the doorway.  In operation, an audible alarm will sound and the doors will automatically reverse motion to return to the fully open position.

“Safety is our number-one priority, and even one incident of a child, backpack, or article of clothing getting caught in the entryway doors is one too many,” said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “While this new feature does not replace the need for drivers to be aware at all times, it is one more tool to assist in making sure that school buses remain the safest form of transportation to and from school.”

In the event of damage or environmental factors such as snow in the stepwell, the auto-reversing door system is equipped with a manual bypass option that will disable the obstruction detection and allow the driver to complete their bus route, according to the school bus manufacturer. Disabling the auto-reverse feature reportedly does not prevent normal operation of the entrance door.

The auto-reversing door feature is now available for order.



IC Bus has introduced its new driver barrier kit aimed at providing added protection for school bus drivers by mitigating the spread of germs, such as COVID-19, on the school bus.

The barrier utilizes available stanchions to create a plexiglass barrier between the driver and passengers, according to a news release from the school bus manufacturer.

“We are excited to offer a barrier kit for our customers that provides added protection for school bus drivers by mitigating the spread of germs while maintaining the highest safety standards for the driver portion of the vehicle,” said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager of IC Bus. “Even with COVID-19, the school bus remains the safest form of transportation for students to get to school and back, and this barrier kit plays an additional role in reducing the spread of germs between passengers and the driver.”

With COVID-19, the school bus manufacturer said there has been increased demand throughout the industry for an additional solution to protect drivers when transporting students. When installed per the OEM guidelines, the barrier kit will comply with all federally approved safety standards, according to IC Bus.


Video surveillance solutions provider Gatekeeper Systems Inc. has received purchase orders from a school district in Virginia to equip their school bus fleet with the company’s temperature check and video camera system. 

Warren County Public Schools will install Gatekeeper’s recently launched Intelligent Temperature Sensing Systems (ITSS) and video camera systems on approximately 50 of its school buses, Katie Wilson, Gatekeeper’s southeast regional manager, told School Bus Fleet.

Wilson said that installation for both systems will begin in November and is expected to be completed by December.

“I am impressed with the accuracy and speed of Gatekeeper’s Intelligent Temperature Sensing System,” Aaron Mitchell, transportation director at Warren County Public Schools, told SBF. “The system is user friendly and easy for our students to understand.”

ITSS is a contactless system that can determine body temperature within 20 milliseconds using thermal cameras, artificial intelligence, and video analytics, according to a news release from Gatekeeper. Visual and audible alarms are triggered when temperature thresholds are exceeded. When passengers board a bus, the ITSS panel records body temperature with an accuracy of +/- 0.5 degree Celsius. The seven-inch ITSS panel is equipped with facial recognition capabilities to improve accuracy and allows users to pursue future applications such as intelligent passenger routing, contact tracing, passenger counting, or payment verification, according to the video surveillance systems supplier. The panel also records images within 40 milliseconds and has storage capacity of 50,000 facial images.


Employee, and especially bus driver, training is the foundation of the constant work that school districts do to not only be as safe as possible while transporting precious cargo, but also compliant with constantly changing state and federal requirements.

Recently announced at the Bus Technology Summit hosted by School Transportation News, a new training solution allows districts to truly customize and individualize tracking and reports, ensuring that administrators can easily manage the entry and pulling of data, and see individual employees’ training status at a glance. This new system is fully integrated with both the Traversa and Versatrans solutions from Tyler Technologies.

With this new training functionality, the following and more is possible:

Event Types

The most common types of training — behind-the-wheel, in-service, and classroom — can all be easily managed in the training module, but there’s enough customization for users to add any custom or unique training types used at their operation. They can also track if a vehicle is needed for the training event, reserve the vehicle(s), and take them out of the fleet rotation for that period of time.

Instructor Tracking

No matter who is executing the training, users of this new solution can track it. Internal instructors among the employee base are automatically listed, but the built-in customization means users can always add an external instructor. Additionally, they can specify which employees are authorized to instruct based on your event types.

Training Locations

If a training is happening on-campus, within the bus garage, or any place that already exists in the software, it will be pre-populated in the Locations list. If the training is happening off-site, that’s not a problem either. This is another opportunity to include custom fields. Custom or off-site locations will be saved within the system in case users need them again later.

Training Events

With event type, instructor, and location ready to go, users can pull all the info together into one record. They can take attendance, track the length of the event, and mark the status (e.g. Scheduled, Complete, or Canceled), and also copy a training event to use for a future time.

Employee Records

Because of complete integration with either the Traversa or Versatrans management solutions, users of this training module can easily link training events to individual employee records. This means no double-entry or separate systems, and individual training records are available at a glance.


This solution offers intuitive reporting for the most common training needs, meaning that it’s not just easy to enter information into the system, it’s also easy to pull it back out to meet the needs of local, state, or federal requirements.


Last week we talked about districts buying electric buses.  This week we have a list of tips for going electric.

  • Don’t let infrastructure stall your project – start the process of charger installation in tandem with purchase.
  • Assess your needs – most operators will find that AC charging is sufficient to fully recharge their buses overnight.
  • Consult with the OEM on which EVSE is ideal – EVSEs provide two-way communication between the charger and vehicle to determine state of charge and how much power to transfer, and some EVSE brands tend to be more compatible than others.
  • Don’t “over-upgrade” electrical service without proper consultation. Pulling more power than is needed to charge vehicles can actually increase the electrical cost for an entire facility dramatically, due to what are known as “demand charges” which can push all utility costs into a higher tier.
  • Consider installing EV charging stations on a separate utility meter from the facility itself. This can allow qualification for special EV charging rates provided by many utilities and also makes it easy to track charging costs by monitoring a dedicated meter.
  • Know your electricity rates. Time-of-use rates exist in many markets which disincentivize electricity use in the evenings, meaning overnight charging is often more affordable.
  • Use available software to schedule charging for times when the cost is lowest. For example, Lion buses have a built-in software feature that allows you to schedule charging in certain time windows, even if the bus is plugged in continuously.

Electrification might sound daunting at first, but by owning their own infrastructure, school bus operators stand to benefit by lowering costs and simplifying daily operations.

Once the right pieces are in place fleet operators benefit from cleaner fleets, lower costs and, most importantly, healthier kids. After all, no one likes buying gas – and as a bonus, plugging in is cheaper.



As governments and municipalities around the world continue to set goals for decarbonization over the coming years in order to create a more sustainable society, school transportation fleets face a rapidly approaching electrified future. The benefits, of course, are clear – improved health for our kids through cleaner air and lower particulate emissions, less noise pollution, as well as lower fleet costs and increased reliability. In short, everyone wins.

In order for electric school transportation to rapidly scale, there is another need to be addressed – where will all of these new zero-emission buses charge?  The good news is charging really isn’t as complex as it may seem at first glance.

With a few unique exceptions, the majority of fleet charging is done overnight when buses would otherwise be out of use. As a bonus, that means fleet operators effectively start the day with the equivalent of a “full tank.” Daily refueling stops are also no longer necessary, simplifying dispatch schedules. Buses just plug in after finishing their daily routes.

The market is constantly evolving, and new DC charging products are coming to market which offer lower charging power (24 kilowatts) and have the potential to bring significant savings to an infrastructure installation project.

Once the right pieces are in place fleet operators benefit from cleaner fleets, lower costs and, most importantly, healthier kids. After all, no one likes buying gas – and as a bonus, plugging in is cheaper.


Most students are now back in class — either online or in person. What does each mean for school bus transportation?

Many school districts nationwide are offering both in-classroom and online education under hybrid models, with about 65 percent of students in schools and the rest learning at home. For those students attending school once again in person, riding a school bus during the COVID-19 era means wearing a mask and sitting no more than two to a seat, often one to a seat, the latter recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Administrators care about safety but realize it can be impossible to keep students six feet apart or more on a bus. Because many parents will drive their children to school, there are fewer students on buses.

But in locations where routes are running, it means using hand sanitizer and being aware the virus can strike anyone at any time. Bus drivers are now tasked with wiping down all interior surfaces to reduce the possibility of virus transmission, before and after runs. In some areas, it means using disinfecting sprayers and misters.

Efforts will be made to ensure student safety on buses, but social distancing may be impossible to guarantee. Many parents are expected to take their children to school and so there will be fewer students on buses. Students will be required to wear masks on buses, but in some districts they will be expected to bring their own. Some masks will be available to those who need them.  Hand sanitizer will also be encouraged.

“We can’t provide PPE for every student, it would cost us millions of dollars and there wouldn’t be enough supply,” said David Uecker, director of transportation for Hutto School District in Texas. “We will have 51 students per bus or no more than two people in each bus seat. We can’t really do social distancing on buses.”

There will be a strong emphasis on cleaning the interiors of the buses. Buses will be disinfected between elementary school and secondary school runs. There will be a deep cleaning each night after the last run. All surfaces on the buses will carefully be cleaned and sprayed, Uecker relayed.

“All students must wear masks on buses and wherever possible we have two students to a seat,” said Ryan Dillingham, the director of transportation at Knox County School District in Tennessee. “Because many parents don’t want their children on buses and [instead] take their children to school, we have some buses with as few as five children. We do not allow more than two people in a seat. We clean the buses twice a day and we keep the windows open. We have plenty of hand sanitizer on each bus for the riders.”

Dillingham said this year has been a challenge. “We have never done this before and we are striving to be flexible. We have dedicated professionals making it work,” he added.