This week someone asked how we assign routes.
It’s very scientific…(Read “Not!” after that statement and smile).
First, we complete our routes. We look at the stops that require door-side attention and stops in highly-populated areas. We give priority to students who require door-side stops. Our software will alert us when a student crosses the street to board the bus.
Next, we review the stops furthest from school and start to plan our spokes-of-a-wheel plan (we don’t want buses making circles; we want them to be SPOKES in the wheel).
Third, we look at capacities. Since buses come in many, MANY shapes and sizes, routes must be paired based on how many students will be riding the bus. We depend HEAVILY on parents to make sure we know where students will be.
Once we find a secondary route that matches capacity with elementary routes, we consider geography and location of the elementary routes. Sometimes we have to unpair routes that make sense capacity-wise to make sense geography-wise.
Next, we consider our drivers who bring their own kids to work. We think about which school those students need to attend. We have a rule that requires students of drivers to ride on their assigned bus first and their parent’s bus second.
Once we’ve reached this level of driver assignment, we review the drivers’ certifications: is the driver eligible for a bus with air brakes or not:?
Finally, we look at our prior-year driver survey. Does a driver want to keep the bus they drove last year, the elementary route, the secondary route, or are they open to whatever is available?
There’s certainly nothing simple about routing and route assignment.