A school bus on the cover of OEM Off-Highway?
Yes. We won't do it every issue — although, because National School Bus Glossy Yellow is intended to grab your attention, a school bus makes a striking cover — but they deserve to be part of the "club."
The mission of any trade publication is to help connect customers with solutions (through articles as well as ads) that will help them meet the challenges they face in their particular industry. A portion of this magazine's coverage has always included the hard-working machines that spend their lives on the concrete, asphalt, cobblestone and gravel roads of the world.
Among the people who request this magazine are decision makers who are tasked with ensuring that their on-road machines are just as reliable and efficient as what we have come to expect from construction, agriculture, or any of the other industries under the "off-highway" umbrella.
Even if you're not designing buses, certain solutions might work for your application, too. The work cycles of off-highway equipment have a lot in common with the demanding start-and-stop treatment dished out on refuse trucks and the efficiency and reliability requirements expected from million-mile Class 8 trucks. On-road they may be, but school buses don't have it any easier.
There isn't a segment of the off-highway equipment industry where unplanned downtime is welcomed. Mechanical difficulties with a loaded school bus on a snow-covered rural road is a recipe for disaster. And ensuring that the vehicle is safe to drive and to ride in is extremely important.
Thanks to teams that carefully select robust components — whether that's the chassis, transmission or a composite part that helps keep OEM prices down and the bus looking good for years (as IC Corp. has done; see Michelle EauClaire's story on page 18) — more than 450 thousand school buses in daily service make approximately 8 billion round trips every year, transporting at least 24 million kids every day. Despite this high volume of trips and passengers, school buses have a safety record umatched in the transportation industry. Those are statistics any OEM reader would be proud to be part of.