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Important Terms about School Buses
Buses are used to transport students to and from school. School systems often have their own bus service, but in some areas it is not uncommon for the job to be subcontracted out to a private company. If you have been charged with the task of renting a chartered bus as part of your travel arrangements, or if you're just curious, you may wish to look into the subject further. You may encounter some terms whose meaning may be unclear to you, so below we'll define some of them.
School Bus Yellow - The distinctive type of coloring used on school buses. Also called National School Bus Glossy Yellow, it is easy to see in a wide variety of weather conditions, and its use is mandated by government regulations.
Chartered Bus - A type rented for a specific single-use purpose, such as traveling to and from a sporting event.
Full-size Bus - The long, spacious type generally used for school routes. The shorter types are often referred to as small buses.
Activity Bus - A type used to transport students to and from extracurricular activities, such as sporting events. These are distinct from buses used for regularly scheduled school routes.
Warning Lights - The flashing lights that deploy during stops.
Stop Signal Arm - This refers to the stop sign that protrudes from the left side of the bus during stops.
Blind Zones - The areas around a bus where the driver cannot see. As it can be dangerous for pedestrians to walk into a blind zone, buses often have various safety devices to reduce the danger involved. These safety measures include mirrors that allow the driver to see into various blind zones.
There are many ways to transport children to an d from school and events, but the most common form is by school bus. Every day, these highly regulated vehicles and their drivers pick up and drop off students at their homes along specified routes to ensure that kids have safe travel.
The earliest North American buses were made in the mid-1880s. They were referred to as "kid hacks" since they were horse drawn. They were mostly utilized by students living in rural areas, where administrators decided it would be impractical for them to walk to school safely. In the 1930s, manufacturing of these vehicles became standardized and mass produced. The vehicles gained their signature yellow color during this time as it was decided that this was the easiest color to see at dusk and dawn. It wasn't until after World War II that the bus started being used to transport urban and suburban kids as well as the rural. The six biggest company manufacturers of bus chassis started falling apart in the 1980s, with only three of them surviving by 2005. This consolidation sparked newer generation designs that are easier to operate and still fit inside regulation standards.
These vehicles are not just reserved for the above mentioned travel purposes. They can be chartered for private trips or used to transport sports teams. School buses are often cheaper to rent than the typical charter vehicle, though many lines have limited renting supply since most of the vehicles are reserved for the daily school schedule. Child supervision is always required on these vehicles, whether it be done by an adult chaperone or by a teacher.