podcastED: reimaginED executive editor Matt Ladner and Step Up for Students president Doug Tuthill discuss modernizing public education transportation

On this episode, Ladner and Tuthill discuss Ladner’s recently published white paper for the Arizona Charter School Association on issues facing the traditional “yellow school bus” public education transportation system in Arizona and nationwide.

Ladner observes that traditional ridership already was in decline, but the COVID-19 pandemic created a huge demand for drivers with commercial driver’s licenses as the demand for delivered services exploded, making the situation worse. As school districts face an increasing driver shortage, Ladner and Tuthill discuss creative solutions such as aligning municipal bus services to serve student populations, creating financial incentives for carpooling, ride sharing, and more.

“If you’re a family without a car or if your schedule doesn’t align … other options are going to be tantalizingly out of your reach … This leaves us in a situation where we need to figure out every way possible to get kids to school that does not involve CDL license-holders. This will be a big spur for transportation innovation.”


The precipitous decline of the “yellow school bus” transportation system

How the COVID-19 pandemic led to a demand surge for commercial drivers

How the lack of school transportation access and options has created equity issues for families

How “flooding the zone” with school options such as charters and microschools can create greater transportation opportunities


The Case for Improving Equity Through the Modernization of Arizona’s K-12 Transportation (White paper)