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School buses are not only used to get students back and forth to school, but for extracurricular activities.

School bus trips are an important part of student life in every school district. These trips play a vital role in transporting teams to sporting events in other cities, and bands to competitions in other states, for example.  But school districts say they are worth the extra expense to support learning and development.

For students in the Indianapolis area, a fleet of modern school buses brings them to annual events like the Indy 500, Kentucky Derby, Bands of America, state fairs and sports tournaments, where school soccer, basketball, baseball and tennis teams are all represented. “School buses offer transportation as an economical mode of transportation. They provide the basic needs to move a group of people quickly,” pointed out Todd Edwards, the school bus operations manager for Miller Transportation. “

Chris Ellison, transportation manager at the Eugene School District in Oregon, operates about 4,000 field and activity trips per year that cover 250,000 miles. His career path led from bus school bus driver to driver trainer, operations manager, trips director and finally, manager. “Safety is No. 1 for us. We only do what’s right for the kids,” he said. “With about 17,000 students at 20 elementary, eight middle and four high schools, we’re the eighth-largest school district in the state. That’s a big responsibility.”

Some of the challenges in using school buses include differing schedules from one type of school to another—elementary, middle school, K-8 and high school. And there are last-minute changes with outdoors sports events, due to weather, traffic and unforeseen situations. Sometimes, a game is delayed one or two hours, so the start time is moved, and the bus operator and router must adapt.

Sports team coaches and other employees can be trained and certified to drive activity buses.

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