I begin each school year, I like to take time to reflect on years
past. I often think my career in pupil transportation actually began
when I was a 3rd grader riding a bus to and from school
about 10 miles each way.
As a result of
riding the bus, I was afforded the opportunity for socialization
with my peers, and watching the driver shift gears which prepared me
for my future driving career. As I look back, the worst part of
riding the bus was that I was notorious for losing my homework which
resulted in my Mom often getting a call from my teacher. My mom will
tell you today that I did my homework but just couldnít seem to keep
track of it on the bus! It was my great experiences riding the bus
that made me determine at such an early age I wanted to be
associated with school buses when I grew up.
graduating from high school in 1981, I was hired on as one of the
youngest ever substitute drivers for Hampton City Schools. I drove
many different routes in that capacity. Later I served as a
contracted driver, then driver trainer, and finally as a supervisor
before leaving Hampton in 1999 for a position as Manager of
Transportation Services with York County School Division.
Today, some 35
years after becoming employed in the field of pupil transportation,
I serve as the Associate Director of Transportation and Warehouse
Operations for the York County Schools. When I think about this, I
wonder where the years have gone. Most importantly I am amazed at
how our industry accomplishes what it does in such a safe and
Here in the
Commonwealth there are approximately 15,500 school buses
transporting 861,000 students daily. For the average person, they
canít fathom those numbers and what we do every day. Often times for
many it appears to be a thankless job. I tell my staff at the end of
the day when you have time to reflect, and you think of all the
students who have been transported to and from school, on off-campus
trips, etc., when all have arrived at their destination safely,
thatís the true reward for a job well done.
Because of the
dedication of all those employed in the school bus industry, school
buses are rated as the safest mode of transportation for getting
children back and forth to school, by the U. S. Department of
Transportation. This is quite an accomplishment everyone in our
profession can be proud of.
No matter what
your role is in our industry, you play an important one. Never
forget the impression you make, on the students we serve, whether it
is that of making a positive impact which like in my case, could
lead to a future pupil transportation professional or just make a
tough day better for a student riding your bus. Never forget the
important role that you play in your precious cargoís life while
driving that school bus. Thanks for going the extra mile!
I hope you all
have a great, safe 2016-17 school year!
James T. Lash