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How to utilize van fleets to maximize transportation options
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How to utilize van fleets to maximize transportation options

February 26, 2020

Van fleets can save time and money and provide new ways to fill gaps in student transportation needs for all types of student populations.

There are many reasons districts might consider using vehicles other than a traditional yellow bus for their student transportation needs. As driver shortages continue to impact districts across the country, van fleets offer a safe, reliable way to get students to-and-from school on time and ready to learn, without the extra worry about staffing or the cost of underutilized school buses.

Vans are just one example of alternative transportation vehicles that can help school districts better serve students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, or students who are out of district. And with today’s technology, many of these vehicles come equipped with specs that yellow school buses do not have, like backup sensors and lane departure warnings.

But van service doesn’t have to be limited to traditional home-to-school transportation. And though it is a reliable service for transporting students with disabilities or students served by McKinney-Vento, there are plenty of other ways vans help districts maximize their student transportation options.

After-school programming

High School Teacher Helping Student With Written Work

Transportation can be a significant barrier to entry for many students wishing to participate in extra-curricular activities at school. Play practice, chess club, tutoring, or soccer practice often take place after the buses have left school to take kids home for the day.

Research has shown that students who participate in extracurricular activities more likely to have higher academic achievement and are less likely to drop out of school. Often, the “hidden curriculum” involved in extracurricular activities promote better time management, improve social skills, and help students build positive relationships.

If you find that most of your district’s after-school activities end at or around the same time after school, a van service might be the perfect solution to ensure your students can participate in extracurricular activities.

Because vans are smaller vehicles, they provide more routing flexibility that can make additional routes for after-school activities an affordable option for most districts.

Field trips

Kids having fun watching an experiment at a science centre

Much like extracurricular activities, field trips are also known to improve academic performance for students. Field trips encourage interactive learning and teach critical thinking skills. Students also can be exposed to new and diverse ideas that help students develop a greater sense of historical empathy.

Field trips provide valuable learning opportunities to students, particularly students from underrepresented backgrounds, but cost can make them inaccessible learning opportunities for many districts.

Van fleets can help provide a more cost-effective and efficient transportation solution for student field trips or other supplemental trips where a traditional yellow school bus may not be a financially feasible option.

Athletic teams

Football coach instructing his students

For many schools, some athletic teams are not big enough to justify the need for a 50- or 70-passenger yellow school bus. For away games and tournaments, vans can help transport your student athletes quickly, safely, and more cost-effectively than other transportation options.

Our standard 7-passenger vans are the perfect solution for tennis, bowling, or golf teams that tend to feature less than 10 teammates per team, depending on the school.

Vans provide greater flexibility and opportunities for customization. With First Student’s sophisticated routing capabilities, we can work with your team to determine the most efficient and cost-effective way to transport your students no matter the time of day.

Get in touch to learn more about how vans can help your district serve your students.