Why do all School Buses Look the Same? (TL;DR: Standardized = good)

by | Sep 26, 2022

While driving my daughter to school the other day I encountered sight common to just about everyone — a big yellow school bus. Whether you rode one to and from school every day, or if you get stuck behind one regularly while driving to work in the morning, school buses are unmistakable. Their size, design, and color are unique, and after pulling out of the school parking lot I got to wondering: why do all school buses look the same?

school busThe reason school buses are alike are grounded in practicality. Here are a few that came to mind:

  • A simple and consistent design keeps costs low, making the purchase and maintenance of a fleet of buses by budget-conscious school districts and student transportation operators less painful.
  • When a bus driver gets behind the wheel, they don’t have to worry whether the vehicle they are driving is different from the one they are used to driving, and their training prepares them for driving for any school or district. That translates a safer ride (and lower costs).
  • A big, yellow bus is easy to see and easy to identify. That level of visibility keeps other drivers alert and results in a greater level of safety. It also provides a greater level of trust that the vehicle children are boarding is a school bus, and not some random van or truck.

Standards are Good

Standardization is a good thing. School bus standards mean that parts are interchangeable for lower maintenance costs and that safety is consistent for the riders and drivers.  Standards are why we can plug an appliance in the wall and expect not only that the prongs will fit the socket, but that the electricity flowing along the circuit is a consistent and expected 120 volts.  Standards allow cargo ships to maximize the number of containers they carry from port to port, and then transfer them to railcars or truck trailers.  Standard dimensions for railroad tracks means easy interstate commerce.  Standardization comes into play in nearly every aspect of life in the modern world.

Without school bus standardization, there would be chaos as different buses made their routes. When stopping in front of houses or at bus stops, children would be unsure whether to climb aboard, and nervous parents would wonder if they should wave goodbye to Junior for the day, or intervene and interrogate the driver. And can you imagine if each school or district had to build their own school buses?  Different designs, colors, and sizes — each with its own build-out costs and no economies of scale.  That would be an irresponsible waste of taxpayer dollars, and lead to confusion for parents and students who are not sure what a school bus even is anymore.

Don’t Build Your Own Bus

I can see that you agree with me: it makes sense to standardize buses rather than have each school or district build their own. So why are you building your own file transfer solutions!?

Too many companies have well-intentioned IT folks who are rolling their own solutions to automate their business critical file transfers.  If you are visiting StackOverflow to answer your questions on libcurl or gpg, or constantly revising and repairing your batch files or scripts, or repeating large amounts of monotonous pseudocode in order to automate your file transfers, you skills are being wasted.  If you are managing people that are writing scripts in questionably secure languages (I am looking at you, Python, and scowling), it is time to take a second look at how standardized solutions like Diplomat MFT can result in a secure, compliant, efficient file transfer platform backed by fanatical support.

The same logic behind standardization—safer operation, lower cost, ease of use—applies to repeatable workflows like managed file transfer. And, as it happens, there is an MFT vendor (Hello! Coviant Software Diplomat MFT!)  that specializes in delivering a consistently excellent software platform that keeps data safe, keeps users authenticated, and keeps files encrypted, and helps keep your data management program compliant with information security and data privacy regulations. On top of that, Diplomat MFT is easy to install and operate, has the guts to handle secure file transfers at enterprise scale, but—because it supports standards like SFTP, OpenPGP, and others—is available at an ethical price.  We have built a standard platform that bakes years of file transfer experience into a cost-effective, intuitive platform that covers all your file transfer needs across numerous standard file transfer protocols.

If you are building your own school bus, stop. There is an easier, less expensive, more secure way to transfer your sensitive data. Take a test drive with Diplomat MFT and see for yourself why it wins awards and why our customers love it.

Request a demo that fits your needs!