More Kids Now Arrive At School In A Car Than A Bus … Here’s Why

The trend has only accelerated in the aftermath of COVID-19. More Kids Now Arrive At School In A Car Than A Bus … Here’s Why Shutterstock

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In generations past, most students either walked to school or caught the bus, but the trend has been slowly shifting in the direction of parental drop-offs in recent years.

By the numbers

Before we get into the causes, let’s take a look at the statistics. Using data from the National Household Survey, the Washington Post broke down student drop-offs like this:

  • 53% are either driven to school or drive themselves
  • About one in three students ride on a bus
  • 11% walk or ride a bike, a number that has been steadily declining

As for why a growing percentage of students now get to school in a car, it appears that COVID-19 has caused an existing trend to speed up considerably.

Remote workers

Since a larger number of parents are now working from home either full-time or at least a few days a week, many now have the opportunity to take their kids to work. Whether this allows them to sleep a few minutes later or just spend some extra time with the kids each morning, it’s a compelling option for many families.

Driver shortages

With the pandemic shutting down schools, there was no need for so many bus drivers … and districts nationwide have had trouble replacing them since schools reopened. This is due not only to a tight labor market but also the decision by some school boards to trim the budget by cutting spending for bus routes.

This has caused big problems for working parents who rely on bus transportation and the associated rise in the number of vehicles on the road has led to mounting environmental concerns.

Some tech companies are working on solutions, including artificial intelligence, that could help streamline bus routes, but the underlying problem won’t be going away anytime soon.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee February 20th, 2024
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