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Most School Districts Want to Buy New School Buses but Face Roadblocks

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Transportation Services Co. (TSC), an innovative fleet management services company working with public, private and not-for-profit organizations, released a new study on April 23, 2019, that examines the opportunities and challenges facing school bus management professionals.

The nationwide survey, “2019 School Bus Fleet Management Survey,” reviewed the positions of K-12 superintendents, school administrators, fleet managers and transportation directors, about their current and future fleet management and acquisition needs.

“Student transportation fleet management is a challenge for most districts,” said Tod Eskra, president of TSC. “It’s evident that the age of school bus fleets impacts safe, reliable service and that is why districts need to acquire new vehicles. But they are often limited by budget constraints, largely because they pay cash for new buses. Districts that are paying cash are not really doing themselves any favors. In the survey results, we were encouraged to see some districts financing or leasing, which are viable options that more should consider to improve their situations.”

KEY FINDINGS

Age of School Bus Fleet Impacts Student Transportation Services

Recognition of the impact a school bus fleet’s age has on a school district’s ability to provide safe and reliable student transportation services was high among respondents. Virtually all (98 percent) of transportation directors, superintendents and other respondents felt the age of their fleet was either “essential” (58.8 percent) or “important” (38.9 percent) to their ability to provide safe and reliable student transportation service.

Acquiring New Buses is a Top School District Priority

Survey respondents were asked to identify their school district’s short-term (next 12 months) and near-term (2 to 5 years) priorities. The top three priorities for both the short- and near-terms were:

  • Acquire new or newer school buses
  • Sell older buses
  • Reduce school bus fleet costs

Lack of Budget is the Biggest Barrier to Fleet Modernization

A clear majority of survey respondents (71 percent) identified “budget” as the greatest barrier to modernizing their school bus fleet, followed by “lack of purchasing power” (10 percent) and lack of financing options (8 percent).

For more information on the survey results, and to view all the findings, download the full report here.

Methodology

The survey, which was commissioned by TSC and administered by an independent market research company, was distributed in February 2019 to 1,615 superintendents, transportation managers and other individuals responsible for student transportation in the U.S. education sector. The nationwide study received an 18.6 percent response rate, from 301 superintendents, transportation directors and other school administrators located nationwide.

Survey response data represented a cross-section of rural and suburban school districts servicing cities, towns, and counties with populations from less than 10,000, to more than 1 million. The size of the school bus fleets owned/operated or contracted by these school districts ranged from less than 10 vehicles to more than 300.

About Transportation Services Co.

TSC, a member of the TransPar Group of Companies, is a full-service fleet management company that helps its clients cut costs and increase efficiencies across the entire spectrum of their fleet. TSC has a robust menu of products and services that support every aspect of a vehicle life cycle, from bus specification development and acquisition, funding, fleet maintenance, parts management, risk management, and fueling, through replacement planning. http://www.transpargroup.com

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