Student Transportation ideas?

So, we’re a young team (3 rookie years in a row) and we made it through the season with a $10,000 budget. A significant portion of this money went to the 1/2 empty school bus we were forced to hire to transport the students to the regional event three days in a row.

In talking to several other mentors and faculty at the regional, I found that many groups don’t bother with the school bus rental. I wondered if some of you out there had some tips for transporting students, legally, to the events.

Parents and Mentors transport students. Most schools have, on their permission forms a form of transportation field. It should contain private vehicle. Yes the drivers have to meet some requirements but its nothing too bad as far as I know.

Depending on the number traveling, we hire a tour type bus, which is surprisingly comparable to the cost of a school bus for 5 days. The cost of school bus transportation soared this year due to fuel costs and our budget crisis. If you are only needing it for the event dates (close regional) then could you use your district’s vans/Suburbans to drive back and forth? Our team uses these for close trips with limited students, but pays for the gas. We usually have a mentor pull a trailer with the pit, tools and spare parts.

There have been times when flying to Atlanta is actually cheaper than the bus option, but then you must deal with the fact that your team has no transportation while there unless everything (hotel, restaurants, Office Depot, Home Depot, hardware store) is close to the MARTA. Hotels within walking distance to the Georgia Dome are usually very expensive. Hotels within walking distance to many regional venues are sometimes nonexistent.

One of our schools requires extensive risk assessments prior to any trip. As a result of the hoops involved, the team will not use anything other than hired and insured transport. It IS possible to have private drivers, like me, but the paperwork and meetings involved in that take so much effort as to make it not feasible.

The legal answer is that it laws vary state to state, and district to district. There should be someone at your school that you can talk to, or local regulations posted online that you can research. Good luck!


In the past, we have sent the pit crew in a minivan driven by a mentor as well as a cargo van that belongs to a major sponsor with the pit, both on the Thursday morning or Wednesday night. We then send a 1/2 length school bus on the Friday morning or Thursday night with the rest of the team.
In our school board, there is a volunteer driver form that must be filled out in order to drive students.

Thanks to all so far. And if others could mention how you all go about getting to regionals and post-season events? Most gratified in advance.

330 always uses private vehicles; the one time we’ve ever used anything else was to transport the robot to a post-season, and that was a church van from the church that runs our school. Either that or air travel, if we’re going farther than a day or so’s drive.

Admittedly, we are a group of homeschoolers, so everything we’ve used has been a school vehicle…:smiley:

I’m pretty sure 1135 also used private vehicles for student transport. It is certainly possible, regional or post-season. You just have to find enough willing parents. (I would suggest that you start finding next year’s parents as soon as you start finding next year’s students. Makes life much easier if the parents are on board early. Free healthy meals during build, anyone?)

We usually use mentor vehicles, but if we are short on space, we will have parents drive to off season stuff.

Here are the ways my teams have traveled in the past:

Chesapeake Regional 2008 with 1618 (508 miles): Two minibuses, hired from a car rental company and driven by teachers. (Well, my girlfriend and I took Amtrak up to New York for a few days prior and met them at Union Station…but that doesn’t count.) Between people and toolboxes, we about filled up both buses.

Bayou Regional 2009 with 2815 (678 miles): Charter bus, overnight. Everything fit underneath.

Palmetto Regional 2009 with 1618 and 2815 (132 miles): Both teams (same district) split a district activity bus with a district driver. 1618 sent a teacher, two students, and a mentor up the night prior in private transportation to uncrate early Thursday morning. Team items fit in a separate cargo van.

Championship 2009 with 2815 (216 miles): One rented minibus, driven by a district staff member. (Coincidentally, it was one of the buses 1618 took to Chesapeake.) Once again, we rented a cargo van to fit the toolboxes/cart/etc.

Well, my team is super poor and our school refuses to give us any money or supplies. A few times, we get to use a school bus for transportation to a Regional, and once in my memory we got to use the District van. However, a lot of the times it’s mentor driven cars or parent driven cars that get students to the Regionals and back. Of course, that’s the reason I always will like the Philly Regional more than the Trenton Regional; I can easily just take the subway there and back, whereas I have no idea where I am in Trenton.

Heh. Does anyone?

From our home base to the NJ regional (80 miles) we take a charter bus (actually cheaper than a school bus) plus a mentor drives the team trailer. We stay in a hotel there (4 to a room). When we stayed near by, we van-pooled from the hotel to the arena daily (about 1 mile), but this year we stayed about 5 miles away and had a local school bus company bring us there and back.

To Palmetto and CMP this year, Toronto last year, Cleveland the year before, Palmetto the year before that… Charter bus. three years to CMP we took airplanes, this year it was too late and too expensive.

We use parent/teacher/mentor transport only for off-season events.

I laughed at this. I remember, this year was the first time I went to Trenton for the competition, I was getting over a bad flu, and all I knew was to get to the really tall McDonald’s sign, I had to walk 1/2 of a mile next to the highway. Not fun.