A school bus is a type of bus designed and manufactured for student transport: carrying children to and from school and school events. The first school bus was horse-drawn, introduced in 1827 by George Shillibeer for Newington Academy for Girls, a Quaker school in Stoke Newington, north-east of London (UK), and was designed to carry 25 children.
The primary vehicle used for student transport in North America, school buses are distinguished from other types of buses by design characteristics necessitated by federal and state/provincial regulations. Federal safety standards require school buses to be painted school bus yellow and equipped with specific warning and safety devices. This service is almost always provided without charge to families. In other parts of the world, the term "school bus" refers more to the destination of the bus and its student passengers than the specific vehicle designed for that purpose; the vehicles used for student transport are more closely related to other types of buses than their North American counterparts.
In the United States, school buses provide an estimated 10 billion student trips every year. Every school day, over 480,000 school buses transport 26 million children to and from schools and school-related activities; over half of the country's student population is transported by school bus. School buses are leased or purchased by school districts, while other school districts use school bus contractors to transport students. In the United States, approximately 40% of school districts use contractors to handle student transportation; in Canada, they are used almost universally.
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