The Red Clay Consolidated School District, Delaware’s largest, has over 16,000 students and the school bus operation transports about 80% of those students on approximately 157 school buses. The District is home to nationally recognized educators, award-winning schools and programs, and a thriving community of educational partners.
The District has been dealing with a driver shortage for many years, as has most of North America. One of the things they wanted to do was find ways to improve that situation through better routing, professionalism, and the level of customer service delivered to their families, and to the board and district.
“We’re the first district in the state to introduce the VEO Now GPS tools,” says Kelly Shahan, Transportation Manager, Red Clay Consolidated School District. (Formerly a TripSpark tool, GPS Tracking is now a Busology Tech solution).
“Getting everything signed and ready to go, it took us right up to two weeks until school started. Right away, I could tell this team, they flew in, it was not their first rodeo. They got everything installed. I didn’t have to do anything. It was a normal work day for me.”
Once the GPS Tracking solution was implemented, the Red Clay School District was immediately able to find bottlenecks in their routing system. Where there were delays in routing – places where buses were being hung up and it was taking extra time for them to get to school for example – changes were made to improve these situations once they could clearly see the problems.
The tool also allowed the District to shrink the number of buses they run by delivering more efficient routing. This increased efficiency also led to better customer service. “We had an increased level of confidence when we spoke to the parents because we actually had facts and information. We could pull up the tool and say, ‘hey, here’s where the bus is and it’s going to be at your stop in 3 minutes,” says Kelly. “We knew what we were saying was accurate because we were seeing it live on the GPS feed.”
Kelly gave access to the solution to the Administrative Assistant who supports operations in the district office; when she receives those concerns now, she can immediately pull up the GPS Tracking tool and address the concern right there with the parent. She does not have to spend her time calling Kelly’s office, having them research it, and get back to her, all while the parent is waiting for answers. “It really changed how we look at things and how our customers now look at us because they feel like we’re a more professional organization; we actually have data and information to give them versus just what we think. And you can’t refute data.”
Kelly adds, “My district just started with the VEO Now tool. My only wish, knowing what I know now, is that we had moved forward with all of the TripSpark (now Busology) tools from the beginning of the school year. My one piece of advice for anybody considering the GPS Tracking tool is to just go for it!”