26 Jan

Transfinder in the News: As school bus routes scramble amid pandemic, Transfinder helps, grows

Growing Schenectady firm makes bus-route efficiency software

From The Times Union
By Rick Karlin
Jan. 25, 2022 / Updated: Jan. 26, 2022

SCHENECTADY — For Transfinder Corp., which creates software to help schools efficiently manage their bus routes and has seen steady revenue growth for 24 years, 2021 was particularly busy.

That’s because the pandemic, marked by a shortage of bus drivers and chaotic school schedules, has scrambled bus routes across North America, which is the company’s market.

“It’s called trip absorption,” Transfinder President and CEO Antonio Civitella explained, describing what happens when, short of drivers, a school district may have to go from 10 to nine bus routes for a particular school. That’s where Schenectady-based Transfinder  comes in with a user-friendly but highly sophisticated algorithm-based system for maximizing the efficiency of each route.

“The bus driver shortage is the top priority,” he said of what he hears from school district transportation managers.

“We’re having clients come on board that would have never considered buying our software but are now in the market,” said Civitella, who has a model of a school bus and bus-themed bookends along with family pictures in his office.

Transfinder closed out 2021 with another year of revenue growth, taking in $23.3 million, up 23 percent from the $18.9 million they had in 2020.

The also signed on an additional 201 school districts as clients, a new record for the 34-year-old company.

The privately held firm does not report its profits. But Civitella said he hired 23 people for the 150-person company last year. Much of the revenue goes back into developing new and better systems.

Among those systems is a new web-based routing app, known as Routefinder PLUS, released in 2020.
It has so far created 10.2 million miles of routes, the equivalent of more than 4,000 trips across the United States.

“We truly know what schools contend with, what their pain points are, what their needs are and even what their wish list looks like,” Civitella said.

They also have an app for parents, Stopfinder, which allows parents to track their child’s bus in real time. It also allows two-way communication with district officials, which has taken on added importance during the pandemic.

Transfinder has been named a Top Workplace by Times Union, and a Best Company to Work for in New York state by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management. “All these awards are based on employee surveys which makes it all the more rewarding,” Civitella said.

But like many operations, Transfinder employees, including at offices in Austin, Texas, and Shanghai, China, have been working remotely since March 13, 2020, and Civitella said he expects that to continue through this year.

“I don’t think 2022 is the year that we go back to the office,” he said.

Click here to read the Times Union article.