What we are about…

Molly McGee-Hewitt, PhD, CAE, NAPT
NAPT Executive Director and CEO

As a foremost authority on student transportation, NAPT is unabashedly and proudly a believer in the yellow school bus and the dedicated men and women who manage the fleets, drive the busses, and keep them operational. We believe that the research is very clear, the yellow school bus is the safest form of transportation for students.

Our industry is evolving daily. The driver shortage and rising costs of fuel and equipment impact on our ability to do business as we have in the past. To be a leader in our industry, we must not only understand the issues our members and their school districts face, but we must also understand the political forces and issues at play. We need to be realists and deal with the truth, but we must also hold onto our values and beliefs. Student safety is now and always will be our number one priority.

The leadership of NAPT is committed to being a positive force in our industry. Not only the Boards of Directors of NAPT and the NAPT Foundation, but also the members who serve on our Public Policy Committee are working hard to develop significant legislative and policy recommendations that support our beliefs.

While we will always support the yellow school bus, we also understand that we must explore emerging options that enable us to do our work responsibly. Alternative transportation is not new, but it is an emerging and continuing issue that requires our attention. At NAPT, we don’t believe it’s our role to tell you what buses to buy, what vendors to choose, or to make other decisions for you.  Rather, we believe it is our role to present you with information that will enable you to make appropriate decisions for your district.

Among the current realities of our work are the practice of parents often being paid to transport their own children and the use of independent firms offering alternative transportation services.  These services are being deployed most often for transporting homeless and foster care students, career/technical education students and others. We understand why they are emerging trends, and we are hopeful to provide support and resources for our members.

Last fall, the NAPT Board of Directors adopted a series of foundational principles that will guide our overall advocacy efforts.  The following was one of those statements and it is relevant in this context:

While it is always preferable that children ride on yellow school buses there are some areas and instances where this may not be possible.  In such situations, it is crucial that children are transported in the safest possible vehicles and driven by qualified, trained, and well-regulated drivers.   

Consistent with that basic statement, NAPT believes that alternate transportation services and any entity intending to transport our children must meet certain standards of safety.  We know that the school bus has attained an unequaled safety record.  As a result, we believe that other transporters must rise to the same or similar standards to ensure the safety of our children.

We believe it is important and useful to our members that we enumerate clear and reasonable criteria to help districts assess these services and ensure that they meet their operational needs and the needs of their students. 

These criteria should ensure that drivers meet the same or similar qualifications and demands placed on school bus drivers, including licensing, student management, health and physical capacity, training, and testing for drug/alcohol use. 

Moreover, among other criteria, vehicles should be required to meet state vehicle inspection standards, are equipped with signage and lighting to ensure public awareness that they are transporting children, are maintained and inspected for road-worthiness, and meet the needs of student passengers with special needs they are responsible for transporting, and more.

NAPT will encourage our members to explore and research all options available for transporting their students, with a priority on the use of the iconic and safe Yellow School bus. We will also encourage them to approach the use of emerging services with the same focus on safety as they employ in their own transportation systems. We will develop educational opportunities and advocacy in this arena on topics that will facilitate this important work for our members.   

NAPT also believes that this timely topic needs to be addressed in the upcoming National Congress on School Transportation and will work with the leadership of the NCST to facilitate that work.

Ultimately, each school district – and the professionals who manage their transportation departments – needs to make decisions that address the needs of their students and communities. NAPT intends to support and assist in those decisions and choices our members will be making now and into the future.  We know our children and their families demand and deserve our best efforts.

With love, respect, and a knowing nod,


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