The start of the school year is just around the corner. Are you as prepared as you could be? We’ve been in the K-12 transportation software business for a long time, and over the years, we’ve had many conversations with school transportation administrators on how to start the school year off right. To help administrators prepare for the start of the school year, we decided to take the best ideas we have heard and put them together in this handy blog for all to see!
With the right processes in place, you can avoid scheduling issues, eliminate data-entry errors and ensure routing is optimized. Read on to learn how.
Top Tips for September: 4 Ways to Avoid Issues and Optimize Service
1) Prepare for enrollment changes::
Begin your new school year by routing and scheduling early to avoid the summer rush. Prepare a process within the district to receive your graded up student files as early as possible. Also, ensure that your schools IT department and the transportation department are working with the same student files and street names so that transportation changes are communicated seamlessly. To prevent students from receiving an incorrect transportation assignment, there should be a standard street name file that all parties utilize to avoid address misspellings. Organize a change request system to communicate to transportation staff, either through an electronic update process or a paper change request form system.
2) Ensure routing and scheduling is optimized: Audit legacy stops and new stops:
Evaluate your legacy stops to ensure they are still at safe locations and are still needed. Some questions that can be taken into consideration:
- Has a driver been servicing the same stops for many years?
- Have gradual changes around a stop gone unnoticed by the driver that sees the area every day and may not think to alert their manager?
Remove all stops with no students assigned to them and when adding in new stops, consider safety policies such as streets that cannot be crossed and streets that are not safe to walk along. Always make sure to test drive the routes prior to the new school year opening to validate time, traffic and safe stop locations. Make sure you are putting fresh eyes on legacy stops and routes instead of sticking with the status quo.
3) Avoid having un-routed students: Improve data entry:
Misspelled names, addresses, and suffix discrepancies can cause students to be “missed” in the scheduling process. Some examples of misspelled information’s are:
- Is their pick-up location 123 E. Jones Avenue or 123 Jones Avenue?
- Is the child’s zip code 44060 or 44600?
Remember, you are trying to match them to a map source. To avoid discrepancies in how this information is recorded, remind schedulers to double check names, addresses, and have them follow a standardized chart of abbreviation usage, street names, with corresponding city and zip code information.
4) Get help from your technology partner: List your pain points:
To manage scheduling changes, routing efficiency, or data entry in your scheduling software, you should feel comfortable asking your technology provider for assistance and tips. At Busology Tech, we consider ourselves your partner rather than just a vendor. Don’t struggle with a work around solution that isn’t the one you truly want. Keep a list of all your pain points and let Busology Tech support you develop an action plan to address your concerns.
Start the School Year off on the Right Foot!
September is an exciting time in the school transportation office. Keep the energy in your office high by reducing unnecessary stresses. Avoid scheduling issues, eliminate data-entry errors and ensure routing is optimized by having the right processes in place! We hope you’re inspired to start implementing some of the tips from this blog at your district and we look forward to being your partner.
Contact us to learn more about how we can work together to develop an end-to-end solution for your operational needs.