Expand Your NEMT Business With Student Transportation
Can you use non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) with the student transportation? The answer is a simple yes.
Every person who is part of providing student transportation services, from the drivers to the operators, dispatchers, and maintenance technicians, is part of the organization.
Student transportation has similarities with the NEMT industry, which also has drivers, operators, dispatchers, and creates routes (but for school transportation routes are fixed). This is why it makes sense for NEMT businesses to provide student transportation services.
You could expand your NEMT business and partner with a local school transportation system to benefit your community.
- Why Student Transportation?
- Regulations and Requirements for Student Transportation
- Future Outlook: The Evolving Transportation Needs for Students
Why Student Transportation?
Safety is always the primary consideration when it comes to transportation. It is especially important when it comes to students going to and from school. This is why more stringent regulations are implemented for student transportation operators.
As many would say, school buses are the extension of a student’s time in school. With that in mind, the driver is also like a teacher. The students on the bus are expected to follow the driver’s instructions as they do a teacher in the classroom. The driver, too, is responsible for taking care of all the students in their vehicle.
NEMT is a means of transportation for people who have mobility needs. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, nearly 240 million children worldwide have disabilities. Many of them have mobility issues but continue to go to school to continue their education.
Imagine these students going on regular school buses. Children in wheelchairs would have difficulty getting off and on any vehicles. The same goes for students who need crutches or walkers. Some children may be ambulant but need special medical equipment for their day-to-day lives—traditional school buses have limited free space.
NEMT as student transportation services is an excellent solution to issues plaguing students with chronic conditions and special needs.
Regulations and Requirements for Student Transportation
Do schools have to provide transportation? In the U.S., public schools are not lawfully required to have school buses.
Every state has a policy regarding school transportation. Some have mandates that school districts must provide transportation or at least have guidelines for the operations of a transportation system. Many states provide districts with funding to provide student transportation services.
Regulations are different per state and district. Many offer school buses for free, while some are permitted to collect fees.
Today, more than half of all students get to school through private transportation, and 37% use school buses. Around 11% of students live close enough to walk or bike to school.
Over the years, new types of school transport have emerged:
- HopSkipDrive - a ridesharing service that arranges rides for students on private vehicles. It supplements the traditional school buses catering to children with individualized education programs or who are in foster care.
- Zum - a company with a fleet of vehicles of different types, some of which cater to students.
So, the use of NEMT in the student transportation ecosystem is not necessarily out of the box. It’s a good endeavor to maximize your NEMT fleet. However, they will be subject to the approval and monitoring of the school district and state in which they operate.
Companies operating as student transportation services are also subject to certain policies.
School Bus Regulations for Operators
When commercial motor vehicles are used as school buses (i.e., ferry children from home to school and back again), they are classified under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
Vehicles should have the proper registration, taxation, and appropriate safety restraints for children.
Operators need to take out liability insurance. The bigger the transportation capacity, the higher the liability insurance.
School Bus Regulations for Drivers
Most states and school districts have specific driver qualifications for school transportation. Here are some of the basics:
- Driver’s license
- Drug testing
- Background check
Drivers also need to undergo training in transporting students.
Bus Rules for Students
Students, too, must follow specific rules when they are on the bus. For example, they must wait and will only be dropped off at their designated stops. They need to be there on time each morning.
While on the bus, students must sit properly and face forward at all times. Bags and other items must be on their lap or under their seat.
Future Outlook: The Evolving Transportation Needs for Students
While NEMT is great for persons or students with special needs, the mechanism or technology used in operating an NEMT fleet can also be used for regular student transportation services.
The fixed route software for student transportation builds predetermined routes that vehicles follow for their trips. This route is established with a specific path and schedule. It gives parents peace of mind knowing they will always know where their children are and where they stop on the way home.
Adding medical transportation providers with proper NEMT technology is advantageous to the school transportation system for the following reasons:
1. Routing and Scheduling
Routes are built easily and consider various factors to make sure timing is correct and there are no delays. It is a fantastic system for managing strict school schedules, which is essential when children cannot be late for school. It is also cost-effective for operators who want to streamline their routes and reduce fuel expenses.
This system ensures proper dispatching of real-time problems and transportation issues. This way, vehicles can avoid traffic incidents, and replacement vehicles can be sent out when an issue arises. Dispatching is one of the most important features for your growing NEMT business.
3. Application for Passengers and Their Parents
With the app for passengers, parents can see the location of the vehicle and know when they need to meet their kids after school in case there are any traffic delays, etc. RouteGenie, for example, is modern software that automates critical transportation operations.
NEMT software can be used in various types of transportation services, including school bus systems. Get your RouteGenie demo today to see how it can help you to becamo more advanced with your operations!
About the author
As RouteGenie's Marketing Director, Yurii gained deep knowledge in the NEMT industry. He is an expert in marketing, utilizing all marketing channels to build RouteGenie's brand and to make sure NEMT providers have access to powerful NEMT software that can boost their growth. Yurii shares his knowledge by writing content on topics related to marketing, and the healthcare industry: medical transportation, home care, and medical billing. The author assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.