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To Improve Student Safety And School Bus Driver Satisfaction

To Improve Efficiency, Costs And Route Optimization

Benchmark Fleet Management Operational Data

Benchmarking the success of your school bus fleet management program is an important step towards achieving greater transportation efficiency and route optimization.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) compiled by the Council of the Great City Schools and ActPoint KPI offer insight into all aspects of your transportation program, including safety, efficiency and cost.

Statistics on median scores for benchmarks allow your district to see how you compare in various areas of transportation efficiency. Your school district should be able to make informed choices when developing bus routes or implementing school bus routing software.

Ready to learn more about how benchmarking data benefits your school district’s transportation program? Read on to learn about the five most significant KPIs you should be tracking.


1. Fleet Usage

Total number of daily bus runs ÷ the total number of buses used for daily yellow bus service (contractor and district)

Median KPI = 4.17 Runs

The average number of daily runs a bus in your school district makes has a significant effect on operating costs. Consequently, you are able to make your bus fleet more efficient when a single bus is used multiple times in both the mornings and afternoons. School bus routing software is able to assist in this area.

Using one bus to do work that typically requires two or more buses saves your school district significantly on expenses. Factors that influence your score when conducting daily runs per bus benchmarking include:

  • Whether your district or a contractor manages bus routes
  • How efficiently your school bell times are planned
  • If the transportation department’s input on bell schedules is considered
  • Bus capacities
  • District guidelines on maximum ride time
  • District geography
  • Scheduling of shortened days and staff development days
  • School district’s minimum number of required days
  • Effectiveness of the bus route planning
  • What types of transportation programs are served

2. Daily Seat Utilization

The average daily ridership for elementary, middle and high school ÷ total number of passenger seats available for all daily buses used in the yellow bus home-to-school program (both district-operated and contractor-operated)

Median KPI = 0.98

Daily seat utilization is an instructive measurement of cost efficiency that route optimization software is able to improve. Scoring well on this KPI requires school districts to use seats effectively so the number of buses needed by your district is reduced.

GPS tracking for school districts provides accurate data that is used to create a baseline comparison across districts. This data allows you to further analyze your program based on your district’s placement.

While a bus route management system helps school districts improve their score for this benchmark, other factors that influence the daily seat utilization KPI include:

  • Effectiveness of route optimization
  • The ability to use each bus for multiple runs in the mornings and afternoons
  • School bell schedules
  • The types of programs buses serve

3. Cost Per Bus

Total direct transportation costs + total indirect transportation costs ÷ total number of buses (contractor and district)

Median KPI = $55,969

Calculating your school district’s cost per bus is beneficial because it provides information about how cost-efficient your transportation program truly is. While investing in transportation routing software may seem like a significant cost upfront, your school district ultimately saves money on the cost of each bus for years after implementing the software program.

Benchmarking your cost per bus provides insight into how to best optimize bus routes based on data from successful routing methodologies you have used in the past. The following list of factors influencing the cost-per-bus benchmark should be used to analyze your KPI score:

  • Your drivers’ wages, benefits and labor contracts
  • Costs associated with fleet management such as replacement plans, facilities, fuel, insurance and fleet maintenance
  • Effectiveness of your route optimization
  • Capacity to use buses for multiple routes each morning and afternoon
  • School bell schedules
  • Your district’s willingness to take transportation department advice when creating bell schedules
  • Maximum riding time and earliest pickup time allowed
  • The types of programs your transportation department serves

4. Cost Per Rider

Total direct cost + total indirect cost + total contractor cost of bus services ÷ number of riders

Median KPI = $1,008

Just as calculating your school district’s average cost per bus provides insight into how to improve transportation efficiency, it is beneficial to calculate your district’s average cost per rider.

By reducing transportation costs such as the average cost per rider, school districts benefit by saving money, decreasing administrative overhead costs and continuing to pay for teachers and important school programs.

Transportation routing software provides further peace of mind by reducing parent complaints and achieving complete route optimization. To learn more about factors influencing the cost-per-rider KPI, see the bulleted list above for cost per bus.

5. Cost Per Mile Operated

Total direct cost + total indirect cost + total contractor cost of bus services ÷ total miles operated

Median KPI = $4.39

Whether your school district is large or small, the average cost of your fleet management per mile operated is an important factor in determining your transportation program’s effectiveness.

If your cost per mile is greater than the median, these costs may be indicative of specific conditions or program requirements within your district. However, school districts that spend less than the median cost per mile either face more favorable conditions or are very successful in running their transportation programs.

Factors that influence your cost per mile operated are the same as the influences for cost per rider and cost per bus. (Please see the above bulleted list for details.) Regardless of your district’s placement for the cost-per-mile-operated KPI, fleet management software is capable of reducing your district’s transportation expenses.

By benchmarking the successes of your transportation program and implementing necessary changes, your school district is able to improve student safety, efficiency and your budget.

One of the simplest ways to cut costs and achieve complete route optimization is to invest in a bus route management system. If you have further questions about how fleet management programs are able to save your district money, consulting an industry professional is a beneficial first step.

Are you ready to consult with an expert knowledgeable about benchmarking your transportation program’s efficiency? Call 866-740-8994 to speak with an experienced industry professional or click here to access a live chat and receive help.

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