Since the first all-steel school bus was built in 1930, school buses have been improving the lives of families all over the country. Today they transport millions of students to and from school each day, saving families billions of miles of driving each year. That’s a significant time and convenience benefit in the lives of busy parents. And the millions of gallons of gas it saves means more room in family budgets. But if you think that families of school-age children are the only ones who benefit from school bus ridership, you might want to think again.
Educators, environmentalists and communities can also appreciate the many contributions of the school bus.
The morning commute can put a strain on the daily grind, but imagine how much worse it would be if an additional 17 million cars joined rush hour traffic. That’s what commuters could be facing without the school bus. One school bus carries the equivalent number of passengers as about 36 cars. So cutting service could result in more gridlock and longer commutes. In fact, the school bus transports about half of the millions of students who attend school. Like other forms of public transportation, the school bus provides benefits to the entire community—not just those who ride.
All those additional cars on the road would mean more emissions and higher concentrations of pollution in the air. Without the school bus, lungs could be breathing an additional 56 billion pounds of CO2 annually. And the environmental benefits have only gotten better each year as student populations grow and school buses become even cleaner due to strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
There are important safety benefits too. Students are about 70 times more likely to arrive to school safely if they take the school bus instead of traveling by car. With teen drivers crashing at higher rates than adults, the school bus provides a much safer alternative. Its passengers can socialize, text and simply be children without the deadly risks involved with distracted driving—risks that affect everyone on the road.
Every community deserves the school bus. They save hundreds of lives each year, provide millions of jobs nationwide and are an important part of the education system.
Want to learn more about how you can support school bus ridership? Visit schoolbusfacts.com/benefits/ for resources you can share to help spread the word about the benefits of the school bus with your community.