The "Short Bus" is a bus used to transport handicapped children
to and from school
. The reason for the name is that these buses are shorter than standard school buses
, often just a little longer than a full-sized van
. The reason these buses
exist is that any given school
or school district
is likely to have only a few such children, and a short bus can best address their individual needs while costing less than a full-size bus.
Even if they have enough "special" students to theoretically fill a full-size school bus, multiple short buses are often preferable.
As handicapped students are randomly distributed, and may need assistance in boarding the bus, they are usually picked up individually at their homes. This may necessitate the use of multiple routes and multiple buses to transport them all within a reasonable amount of time. Short buses may also be able to navigate individual driveways and side streets that full-size buses cannot. Further, the small size and passenger capacity of a short bus makes it easier to manage the behavior of the children, an important concern.
Short buses often have extra features such as elevators and floor brackets (for boarding and securing wheelchairs), or extra restraints on seats. In addition to the bus driver, educational aides often ride along on short buses to assist and manage the students.
On occasion, short buses may be used to transport non-disabled children to school along unpopulated or difficult routes. Due to the stigma of riding the short bus, however, this is usually avoided whenever possible.