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Snyder busing remains ‘All In The Family’

By Staff | Sep 6, 2012

David Snyder, member of a three generation family of school bus owner/operators with the East Lycoming School District, recently purchased his brother’s fleet of buses.  

MORELAND TOWNSHIP – In 1940, the late Kenneth Snyder started what became a family busing business spanning three generations. Though the years were not consecutive, family members from each succeeding generation have been operating the business. They were Kenneth, son Jesse, Jesse’s son Tim, and currently Tim’s brother, David Snyder.

According to daughter Ruth Snyder Lupold, “In the fall of 1940 when school was to start, the garage didn’t have the 16 passenger Chevy bus ready, so daddy used his car to transport students. His only destination then was Laurel Run School in the south-eastern corner of Moreland Township. Among the students were my older brothers Lester and Jesse.”

Also during that time, the bus occasionally transported young people from Moreland Baptist, the Snyder family church, to ice cream socials at Baptist churches in Hepburnville and Hughesville.

In the spring of 1948, Laurel Run closed and students could attend either Opp or Eight Square. “Instead the school board made the decision for us, so there was no choice,” Lupold said. The little yellow Snyder bus was now assigned to those two destinations.

“Even with transportation now available, some children walked long distances to bus stops. Often when it rained daddy would take them home,” Lupold said.

It wasn’t known at the time, but son Jesse was destined for the same career. “Even after he was no longer a student, daddy took him along to shovel snow or deal with other obstacles,” the daughter said.

When the East Lycoming School district was established and sixth and seventh grades from one-room schools were included in the new high school in 1955, larger busses were needed to accommodate additional students and extended routes. Obliged to purchase a bigger bus, Snyder had loan backing but the contract was awarded to Glen Fraley.

“Eventually daddy traded the bus for a new farm pickup truck at Gilbert’s Chevrolet in Muncy,” Ruth said.

About 1970, Jesse Snyder already a farmer and township supervisor, became the next generation in the business when purchasing a bus and route from Clarence “Brig” Lore. Shortly afterward, he bought two more from Bill Smith of Hughesville. The additional routes included the areas of Huntersville and along Route 220.

Following Jesse’s sudden death at age 50 on October 13, 1981, his widow the former Alma Jean Montague, kept the contract. “I never drove a bus, but drivers were already in place,” she said. The family held on until Tim, eldest son of the four Snyder children, took over at age 19.

“I came into the business under unfortunate circumstances, but I’ve enjoyed the experience,” said the third generation owner. At first, Tim supplemented his income with other work until he expanded his fleet to six buses thus becoming a full time job. During his 30-year tenure his routes have included parts of all seven townships in the East Lycoming District.

“I’d been driving long enough to see multiple generations as students,” Tim said. Tim received accreditation as a state certified instructor and coordinator training other drivers and he holds a membership with the Pennsylvania School Bus Association.

He recently sold the business to his brother David and after three decades said, “I’ve had excellent relationships and will miss seeing my drivers, the school staff and administrators. I won’t miss an alarm clock set for three in the morning to scout the hills reporting weather conditions deciding if school should be delayed or closed.” he said.

Prior to school’s opening in August 2012, ownership was transferred from brother to brother. Of this their mother commented, “As a student, David never liked riding the bus, but had always wanted to drive them.” And so with this latest development, the Snyder school busing business continues to remain ‘All in the family.’