In my past experience as a bus operations director:
(This is in relation to a prior year and position which may be very similar to what some other bus companies do for their Districts depending upon the circumstances)
· We were able to save 172.78 miles per day and 465.77 hours per day by rerouting routes for a particular school year. The benefits to the district were multifold: fewer discipline issues and fewer complaints from parents about ride-time.
· We have complied with every request for a new route or to change routing for student accommodation issues in fewer than the three days allowed by the contract.
· We have never caused disruption to the school day or the athletic department by missing a route or a trip.
· We have never caused disruption to the school day because our buses didn’t start in cold weather because we know when it’s time to change to number 1 fuel when the weather starts to change.
· We have been able to provide service at the last minute when staff forgot to schedule a bus or van.
· We have lower driver turn around than most companies. One year we lost one driver to retirement, every other employee returned in the fall.
· We offer 26 hours of paid training to our drivers each year. Eight hours of training is required.
· We saved the district between $20,000 and $30,000 by assuming the responsibilities of the Transportation Manager without additional cost to the district.
· We correct any problem brought to our attention within 24 hours.
· We have key leadership available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
· We have been paying property taxes and voting for referendums since our company opening in 1947.
· We purchase our supplies, parts, and services from local vendors whenever possible, supporting other businesses that pay property taxes locally.
· We conduct a controlled substance testing program for Type III drivers too, a practice recommended by law, but not required.
· We can be relied upon to always do what we say we will do.
· We devised a tag system to help Kindergarten students successfully navigate public transportation for the first time.
· We devised a tag system to help bus drivers keep track of multi-address students, using “Home” and “Daycare” designations or “Mom’s” and “Dad’s” designations.
· We devised a tag system for all students to replace writing on their hands with permanent marker, while successfully getting students to the correct bus.
· We consistently handle incidents of misconduct on the bus. Since the program is consistent from building to building and grade to grade, we are seeing a reduction in the number of incidents on the bus, good news from a public safety perspective.
· We designed a transportation system that is as efficient as it can be according to industry experts and school administration.
· We present our billing to the school in an easy-to-understand format and with sufficient back-up to give both the administration at the school and at our company confidence in the accuracy of the invoices.
· We have initiated a program encouraging “kind and caring” behavior to all students at all times.
· We have been using a “Rule of the Week” campaign for two years. Drivers post a new rule each Tuesday, we update our blog with the rule/poster, and we’ve given the rule schedule to each elementary for their morning announcements.
· We do not keep substandard employees.
· We sent information about bus routes home to parents three times in August, first on a postcard, and then twice via their homeroom or school advisor group.
· We hire only the most qualified applicants, excluding immediately any person with a careless or inattentive driving on their motor vehicle report. Our current driver roster is overwhelmingly moving violation-free.
· We check motor vehicle records twice each year, once in a process involving the driver (certification of motor vehicle records) and a second time in the spring. We also do random spot checks to make sure drivers carry their driver license at all times (it’s the law) and to see that there are no clips or holes punched in the license. Our motor vehicle record source offers free tracking of any driver license number we enter, so we also receive email when an employee’s license change.
· We offer many options for communication, including our website, blog, and twitter account. Those parents using any of those tools appreciate them.
· We won the state of Minnesota “Great Fleet” award and were chosen as the “Contractor of the Year” in Minnesota and at the national level.
· We were awarded first place in an industry-specific newsletter contest based not only on newsletter design, but on safety content.
· We nominated three long-time drivers for the MSBOA Transportation Specialist Award, and all three won. We set our own criteria for nominations based on years of service. One additional employee will be eligible in two years.
· We purchase buses with air brakes. Although not mandated in Minnesota (unlike other states), air brakes are an important safety enhancement.
· We deliberately opted to not place crossing gates on the front of our school buses. Crossing gates give drivers and students a false sense of security. Training drivers to count students and teaching students to be safe outside the school bus are far more effective safety practices than trying to use a device.
· We use “No Child Left Behind” technology in every school bus. The device requires the driver to walk to the back of the bus for deactivation. In this case, the mechanical option is a better, fool-proof system than any manual system ensuring post-trip inspections of vehicles.
· We created a training system to use with students K-5. Students first watch a power point created by us. Classroom training is followed by one-on-one training in a school bus. The bus training ends with a simulated evacuation and a demonstration of the safety signal.
· We opt to use the “Thumbs Up for Safety” signal rather than a wave. Motorists were sometimes confused by the safety wave, thinking the bus driver was waving them through. The “Thumbs Up” signal is less confusing. We’ve found students, especially the little ones, are more active participants in their own safety; many of them give the bus driver the thumbs up in return.
· We have a strict no-idle policy designed to reduce harmful emissions and fuel consumption, and we do what we can to enforce it.
· We require our drivers to check-in at Dispatch each morning and prior to afternoon routes. Two trained supervisors look for sober, healthy drivers. We have developed relationships with drivers over the years, and believe this is a key factor in any successful controlled substance policy.
· We have never denied a parent the right to question a stop. We review every stop each time a parent – or a bus driver – makes a request.
· We have created a company-wide training program and require participation by every employee to ensure we all get the same important information on a weekly basis.
· We are among the best at what we do.