REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Zūm, the leader in modern student transportation, today released its first annual commissioned survey, the Student Transportation Report Card: A Parental Review, which found that when it comes to the school bus system, parents in America are most concerned about their child’s safety during a ride (34 percent), followed by COVID-19 infections (18 percent) and the lack of tracking and visibility (10 percent).
At a time when transparency and agility rule the day in other industries, school busing has been slow to modernize. The majority of respondents (64 percent) agree that today’s school bus system is antiquated and in need of technical advancements to make it safer, more efficient, and better for the environment.
Parents have become accustomed to having information and personalization available at the tips of their fingers. From apps that keep track of a child’s healthcare updates, to phones and tablets that allow parents to tailor and monitor what their kids can watch. Yet, they still have little to no visibility into the school bus ride their children take five days a week.
“Zūm’s vision for the future of student transportation is infused with flexibility, efficiency and transparency. The survey results revealed that two in three parents with school-aged children think that knowing if and when their child got on or off their school bus should be as easy as knowing if and when a package was delivered,” said Ritu Narayan, CEO and founder of Zūm. “We remain steadfast in our mission to modernize student transportation with tech-driven solutions, and this research reinforces the need for an entirely new and reimagined school bus experience for our kids, families, drivers and districts.”
In addition to their child’s safety during a ride topping the list of parents’ concerns about the school bus system, according to the research, parents worry about their child’s experience on the bus, with 41 percent of respondents saying they were most concerned about bullying and fighting.
Additionally, parents are still reeling from the pandemic, with nearly half (48 percent) of respondents noting that they are very or extremely concerned about COVID-19 infection and spread on school buses.
Student transportation is the largest mass transit system in the U.S., with 27 million students traveling twice a day. Yet, the traditional system is often the cause of inefficiencies across districts as well as inequity among students. Parents noted the following changes would be a welcomed change to the system:
Rethinking routing: Fifty-eight percent of respondents surveyed think school bus commute times are unnecessarily long for school-aged children. More than half (55 percent) of respondents believe that inefficient routes and lack of resources cause kids to sit on the bus for too much time each day, and nearly half (48 percent) agree that long commute times on school buses are harmful to school-aged children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Building flexible schedules: More than half (53 percent) of respondents say school bus systems do not provide working parents with enough flexibility for their child’s pick-up and drop-off schedules.
Transportation accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with over 90 percent of the nation’s 500,000 school buses running on diesel. These buses emit noxious exhaust, and 45 percent of respondents are very or extremely concerned about environmental issues that stem from diesel school bus fumes creating harmful air quality for students and communities. Another 51 percent believe that children who ride the school bus have a health risk due to their exposure to diesel exhaust and harmful pollutants created by the bus. To improve on school transportation’s sustainability efforts, more than half (54 percent) of respondents agree that electric vehicles and electric school buses should replace diesel-polluting school buses.
“As a mother myself, I know the feeling of frustration with having no control or visibility into the means of transportation responsible for providing kids the access they need to get their education,” Narayan continued. “Improving upon the largest flaws in the student transportation experience before, during and after the ride to meet the needs of today’s kids, parents, school districts and drivers remains the driving force at Zum.”
The full commissioned survey, 2022’s Student Transportation Report Card: A Parental Review,” is available at https://www.ridezum.com/state-of-student-transportation-2022/.
All data found within this report is derived from a survey by Zum conducted online via survey platform Pollfish from April 28-30, 2022. In total, 3,500 adult American parents with school-aged children were surveyed.
Zūm has reimagined student transportation, the nation’s largest mass transit system. Our integrated end-to-end cloud-based platform provides a modern service for school districts purpose-built around the needs of kids and the expectations of their families. Zūm provides one seamless, real-time interface for parents, drivers, schools, districts, administrators, and operators, to transport children safely and with increased visibility and personalized care. Our multi-sized vehicle approach includes an electric vehicle-first commitment, reduces student commute times by up to 20 percent, and coupled with our marketplace, delivers added fleet efficiency and optimization. We have been driving the industry forward since 2015, and with more than 8 million miles completed to date. Recognized for leading a new era of safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable transportation, Zūm was listed as CNBC’s Disruptor 50, Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas and a Gold Stevie winner for The 20th Annual American Business Awards. Learn more at www.ridezum.com.