School Districts Take Steps to Reduce Their Transportation Costs
published on June 20, 2012 by George Mastros
With rising gas prices and decreasing school budgets, minimizing school bus transportation costs has never been more beneficial to a school than now. Because of the great variability in how much you might get from one year to the next for transportation costs, you may end up taking money from other school functions to help make up the slack. Since this is inevitably barring new legislation, it is a good idea to try your best to optimize the school transportation costs, by employing a handful of practices:
- The best way to ensure that the routes the school buses (or other, primary mode of transportation for multiple students) are taking are as efficient as reasonable, is to implement routing software. This does everything from minimizing the number of buses needed to get all students to school efficiently while optimizing transportation times. You can see that this automatically reduces fuel consumption, driver salaries and vehicle wear and tear, which of course translates to more money saved.
- Pay close attention to vehicle acquisition practices; a robust maintenance program can extend the lifetime of buses, and finding out the most reliable and cheapest way to dispose of ones you can no longer use can go a long way in reducing school transportation costs.
- You can revise the number of students who ride the bus, and make sure to include only those that actually require transportation. For example, many students who live close enough to the school do not meet federal requirements for school-sanctioned transportation probably ride the bus, as this is common to most schools. Reducing these numbers to only those that need to ride due to unsafe walking conditions, distance, and disability can definitely save money.
- Reducing the frequency of bus stops, by reviewing the walking distances between them. If they are too close together, then this will end up increasing school transportation costs, as well as lengthening the amount of time the vehicles are out on the road. It’s OK for students to have to walk a bit to get from one stop to another.
- Find a way to increase the amount of money you make from selling back vehicles you no longer need or never used. This tops off the list, as it should be the final method of reducing school transportation costs after the above are instituted.
These are just a handful of the methods that have been successfully used to reduce school transportation costs for cash-strapped districts across the country. Perhaps you've tried a few in your own schools that have left more cash available for other costs; please feel free to inform us of any additional ideas.