Learn ways to maximize efficiency while increasing safety.
From District Administration / October 2023
When it comes to school transportation and bus routing, failure to understand and maximize resources is leading to significant hidden costs for many schools and an increased strain on operations, says an experienced transportation professional.
“Many schools and districts essentially still use pen and paper or office productivity software for bus routing and logistics because that’s what they know and how they’ve always done it,” says Michael Howes, a data management specialist for Healey Bus in Lynn, Massachusetts. “They don’t realize the potential to streamline, automate and dramatically improve efficiency by using web-based applications designed specifically for school transportation.”
Imagine tools that reduce thousands of miles traveled a year or that free up thousands of staff hours so they can focus on more critical tasks.
Enter: Transfinder technology and hardware.
The right tools make the difference
Howes has 12-plus years’ experience in school transportation, as a bus driver and a transportation director and manager for multiple school districts before joining Healey Bus, a contractor that services many area districts.
In his work with so many school systems, Howes says the use of Transfinder’s transportation applications is critical to success. Transfinder provides intelligent routing, scheduling and fleet maintenance solutions that optimize school transportation logistics.
“We use Transfinder for everything from reporting to forms, building bus routes and much more,” Howes says. “The Routefinder PLUS solution is particularly useful for reducing hidden costs by building more efficient bus routes.For example, for one of our client school districts, I used Routefinder PLUS to reduce their bus routes by about 20 miles per day. That added up to thousands of miles annually, saving the district thousands of dollars in annual fuel costs. To do that without the software would be next to impossible.”
The industry has noticed. Transfinder’s solutions, including Routefinder PLUS, driver app Wayfinder, parent app Stopfinder and fleet and asset management tool Servicefinder and its tablets and card readers just won the 2023 STN Innovation Choice Awards for both Best Software and Hardware.
Automating administrative tasks
The automation of administrative tasks makes a significant difference. “Routefinder PLUS includes a powerful reporting tool and database, which we use to automate the bus driver’s license renewal process. It automatically alerts us when any driver documentation will be expiring within the next 30 days, which is very important for compliance. Any regular task that you can automate can potentially save thousands of hours of work in a school year.”
Howes believes using the Transfinder technology platform is becoming more important. “Many transportation costs continue to increase exponentially, driver shortages are becoming more of a problem, and the regulatory environment is becoming more complex,” he says. “After working with many different school systems, it’s clear that
many district leaders don’t realize what their transportation is costing them, and how much time and money could be saved. You can offset the costs of investing in the software by improving efficiency.”
Ensuring student safety
But it’s about more than efficiency and savings. Howes highlights safety and how using tools like Routefinder PLUS ensures bus routes are as safe as possible.
“The safety of students is of paramount importance to everyone,” he says. “What many district leaders may not realize is that by improving the efficiency of bus routes with the platform, you can also improve safety by reducing ride times for students, getting them to school and home more quickly, and ensuring bus stops are always made on the
safe side of the road.”