Newer safety regulations prevent schools from transporting cargo larger than items that will fit safely on a student’s lap. So when Ben Crowe learned that schools were forced to charter costly secondary equipment buses to carry sports equipment on school outings, he wondered why a better solution hadn’t been considered.
“I grew up exposed to school sports and music activities that required day trips. We’d pile on board a school bus and travel to various venues. Many of our outings required sporting gear, musical instruments, and other items. Back then cargo was simply piled on empty seats or in the aisles. Today, this isn’t allowed. I had no idea school districts were racking up expenses by adding equipment buses to carry equipment on field trips. It’s a huge added expense to schools.
We were approached by a number of schools and chartered bus companies to help create an alternative solution that would save money while also keeping students and drivers safe.”
Known for bringing new product ideas to life and finding effective solutions to challenges like this one, Crowe set out to discover what it would take to design and build a safe, user-friendly ‘gear compartment” that could easily be installed within the bus and be used alongside passengers.
“Having worked with a variety of transportation sectors, and having developed Quarantine Restraints, an industry-leading cargo measurement company, I was confident that my team and I had the background to design and create a bus- specific cargo containment product. I also knew my first job would be to learn exactly how schools currently operate and about the financial and safety constraints they work under.”
“Having established that, my next goal was to work with school districts and chartered bus companies to test and sample some working prototypes to refine the design.
“I decided to incorporate the built-in integrity and strength of existing seats into my design. So rows of four seats are employed as the chief ‘anchors’ of the system, and soft floor mounts are fixed to the seat legs along the aisle side. The seats insure that the integrity of the bus itself is a part of the plan, as they would when transporting passengers. The top compartment was a secondary design idea after realizing the length of the unit would be near perfect to hold longer equipment like skis and hockey sticks.”
“We understand there are situations when a secondary equipment bus will always be required, especially when the transport of more cargo is needed. But our overall goal is to significantly reduce the secondary-bus necessity by offering an alternative solution. Our Field Cargo system will pay for itself if it eliminates just two charted equipment bus rentals.”
When asked how he feels his cargo containment system will be accepted in the industry, Crowe responded, “I think we’re onto something. This is only the beginning of where we can take this product line. Some of the first customers who approached us were charted bus companies that service work sites for the oil and gas sectors. They needed an on board cargo area inside their work buses to safely put luggage when transporting workers from the airport to job sites. The school bus specific design came right after that. So now we have 2 divisions within the line. We’ve filed our patent and are excited to see where we can take the company!”