Uber, But for School Buses


Could ride-sharing become a widespread replacement for traditional modes of school transportation? In March, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised Denver's school district for providing transportation to underserved students attending both traditional public and charter schools. The program, called the Success Express, helps bus students to schools they're enrolled in outside their typical residential assignment areas, helping them exercise more choices in where to attend. But in many communities, students aren't so lucky.

In February, a report from the Urban Institute tracked how transportation issues undercut the promise of school choice in some of the places with the most educational options for students. Several cities well-known for school choice, including Denver, still face gaps in their transportation infrastructure, according to the report. Programs like the Success Express run into problems coordinating with city educational and transportation authorities, not to mention the reluctance of some district officials to let their resources benefit schools of choice.

Luckily, school finance is becoming increasingly individualized, giving districts more flexibility when it comes to getting kids to school. The conversation no longer needs to be centered on cities fixing the problem from the top down by buying and operating more school buses. Why not give families the option to use a portion of their students' individual education funding to take advantage of market-based transportation alternatives?

Startups like HopSkipDrive in Los Angeles, Zum in San Francisco, and Zemcar in Boston already cater to busy parents who need someone to bring their kids to and from school and other activities. These companies put a premium on safety and trust, typically hiring drivers who have experience working with kids and subjecting them to extensive background checks. Parents can schedule pickups in advance from a small pool of recurring drivers the family can build trust in and familiarity with. Like with Uber or Lyft, these firms constantly track their cars via GPS, with some even letting parents view a live video feed of their kids' commute.

If parents can use programs like tax-preferred education savings accounts (ESAS) to take advantage of such services, it could help these companies, which are still in their early stages, scale up fast to meet additional demand. In three of the five states that have implemented ESAS, these funds can already be used for transportation costs.

Access to a choice is as important as having one in the first place. Until now, transportation has been a major obstacle to giving students better educational options. With the right policies in place, it can instead be a way to make parents' lives easier while promoting innovation.

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  1. The issue is not available transportation. It is available publicly funded, school children only, transportation. That is, school buses. Since the schools run that system, they bias all decisions on getting fund sources (children) into THEIR school.

  2. Look, I don’t want to be this person, but it would take one instance of a pedophile using this as access for it to be banned, probably nationally.

    1. So I assume school buses are going to disappear then.

      1. I mean, it’s not like pedophiles could take advantage of all those kids standing on designated street corners at designated times. Certainly not with parents hanging out right there. Of course, those other parents could be pedos too.

      2. No, when a licensed school bus driver does it its just the eggs you’ve got to crack for your delicious public school omelette. Something else entirely.

  3. I play at explainer of American issues to Canadians, so it was interesting when telling people about the whole school choice uproar that most people seemed down with it (a lot of non religious people send their kids to catholic schools, I guess) but got really hung up on how the kids were supposed to get to school. When I went to high school in a large city, seemed like half the kids rode transit and not school buses anyway, so this never occurred to me. And I’m surrounded by people who used to walk or bike to school almost exclusively, but yet are the kind of parents waiting in the SUV for the bus so they can drive their kids the half kilometer home. At least I haven’t seen the long line of idling suvs waiting to pick up their kids, which are slowly released one at a time. Breaks my biodegradable heart.

    1. In California (at least in the wealthier suburbs), pretty much everyone drives their kids to school (unless they live close enough to walk), or the kids drive themselves to high school. The only buses I see are for sports teams.

  4. Just to be sure that not one child feels left out of the free transportation handout, we should shut down all the public schools temporarily until we can sort this out.

  5. This is a great facility to make it easier for students to go to school. And I hope the school bus system can take advantage of the latest technology.


    BBS – International School with A Level IGCSE
    and Cambridge International Examinations Program.

  6. That is a really good for parents as well as for students. Innovations are helping both so much. As you can see, nowadays students are provided with everything to make their education process much easier. They can now concentrate on study, without thinking about transportation, food problem etc. Yes, you can say, that internet in some ways hurts students with all this best essay help, homework help online, lessons in front of the PC screen and so on. Students can find a solution of any school problem now. But does it really hurt? Everyone has their own head on their shoulders. So we should provide them with as more new services and technologies as we can. Here you can find some more of technologies and reasons why we should use them. Let`s change our education system for the better.

  7. School buses always was the last hope to finish my homework. Sometimes just few minutes in a bus could help me to finish essay or something. In anyway, it does`nt matter in which way students go to schools, but yeah, trying to make it easier always a great facility. I hope that school buses system would not disappear, but if it happens, I think I could cope. Just few days ago opened for myself this site https://pro-papers.com/essay-paper-writing-service and even successfully ordered an essay, which brought me the best mark:)

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