RSU 61, Lake Region School District, ME Realizes Significant Efficiencies by Utilizing Transfinder to Handle the District’s Routing
The district began using Routefinder Pro in 2004 before the State of Maine contract was negotiated with Transfinder for Maine's School Transportation Operations Program. Prior to using Transfinder the district was a manual operation, but needed a way to manage their time and resources more efficiently.
Transfinder’s software offered many benefits for time management, auditing resources, and accurate driver pay. In addition, student pick up times are scheduled “right to the minute”, according to Bruce Harmon, Dispatcher for the district. In addition, Andy Madura, Director of Transportation, Facilities & Food Services, said “…the system works, and our drivers are scheduled to the minute. Many of our route drivers were not convinced on the times, but once they drove the routes it made sense.”
The excellent mapping capability of the software has been significant for accurate timing of routes and the pickup times for each stop, so students and parents are consistently ready on-time, and drivers are not overpaid.
Also, according to Andy they were able to save (eliminate) 3 bus routes when they started using the system, which is an average cost of $25,000 a route. “There is a lot of work keeping the system up to date with student location changes, and other data, but we are extremely happy with the software and can say it has saved time and funds over the years.”
‘Infofinder le’, the field trip management software, has also been beneficial for managing homeless and special needs routing. The district maintains these routes as field trips for easy auditing of their time and hours for end of year reports to the state. The field trip component also allows the transportation department to bill other departments for their educational and athletic trips throughout the year.
The most significant benefit however of the field trip program was the improvement in efficiency of processing field trip approvals. Now accomplished in one day, the district previously used interoffice mail for delivering requests to the transportation office, which would take 2-4 days to complete.
In addition, the district uses Infofinder i for parents to look up their child’s busing information. Each year at school registration Mr. Harmon, the District Dispatcher, shows parents how to use the online lookup, which is available on the district’s website. According to Mr. Harmon, Infofinder i has saved the department from receiving over 1,000 phone calls before the start of school, “If we receive a call now its’ usually a question on using Infofinder i.
Benefits of Using Transfinder Solutions
The district has realized significant efficiencies from using a computerized system to handle the districts routing needs. The efficiencies account for a saving of thousands of dollars in gas money, countless hours and frustration saved by having a reliable system, which also creates a transparency between departments, and ability to easily share information.
RSU 61, Lake Region School District in Maine, is located in Western Maine and encompasses the New England towns of Bridgton, Casco, Naples, and Sebago. The district transports 1,800 students of the 2,100 that attend the regions schools. The district also maintains its own fleet of approximately 36 school buses.