Plans Underway for Annual Driver Training

We have been doing our annual driving training in a one-on-one setting for the last few years so we would have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with each driver.

We’re shaking things up this year.

On August 20, 2013, we are going to run two sessions.  The first begins at 8:00 am and runs until 1:00 pm, and the second begins at 12:00 and runs until 4:00 pm.  Each of the two sessions will be identical; it’s up to bus drivers which option to choose.

We’re going to set up a bunch of booths and training stations in the parking lot.  Drivers will be paired in groups of two or three and will be assigned a starting point and assigned a path.  They will collect a token at each booth, and will be able to enter a drawing for a marvelous (REALLY MARVELOUS) grand prize drawing at the end of the day.

So far we have planned the following stations (a minimum of twelve stations will be set up and a maximum of twenty-five), and have contacted a few area vendors and businesses to (we hope!) get a few unique learning opportunities for our staff:

  • Jami will meet with the small team of drivers to give them their routes and Opening Day information packets.  She will update them with some staffing changes made over the summer.
  • A trainer will demonstrate several different versions of our No Child Left Behind Devices, wheelchair securement, and miscellaneous items relating to pre- and post-trip inspections.  EACH driver will have a chance to secure a wheelchair.
  • A local expert will observe drivers securing car seats, vests, and other restraint devices, and will make corrections where necessary.
  • Shelley will have packets of annual forms, including tax and employment forms, DOT forms, personal information updates, and MVR reviews.  She will also be handing out revisions of three important publications we haven’t revised for five years.
  • A local business will offer chair massages and health and wellness information.
  • A local health expert will offer information about dealing with common special circumstances, like choking, seizures, epipens, and general student information.
  • Matt will offer a mirror adjustment clinic so EACH driver will learn about adjusting mirrors in an unfamiliar bus for the proper positioning to minimize blind spots.
The list is already exciting, but the final five spots haven’t been confirmed yet.  I guarantee they will top off the list in STYLE and SUBSTANCE!

We’ve also contacted a local food vendor to create a fantastic menu so the morning attendees can end their day with a meal and the afternoon attendees can begin their session with a meal.  We’re hoping that creates an opportunity to introduce new employees and perhaps some school administrators and staff.  

We have started working on contacting some local businesses who might be interested in providing some coupons or giveaways for our BUS DRIVER GOODIE BAGS, which are always a big hit and which generate some extra business in our community.
This should be a fun event and a great kick-off to the school year.  
Y’all should stop in for a peek.
Safe Driving!
Kari

Assignment Time

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.

Safe Driving!
Kari