Getting Schooled With A School Bus Driver
published on December 11, 2012 by Sonia Mastros
I have nothing but sympathy for school bus drivers. It really has to be one of the most stressful and demanding jobs on the planet. I might not know first-hand, but I have the next-best thing. My mother was a school bus driver for several years, and I'll never forget her stories of just how tough the job can be.
Just consider, a school bus driver has to:
• Wake up early in the morning, often around 4 or 5, to get the bus prepped.
• Safely drive a bus full of rowdy children.
• Take responsibility for anything that happens to them, even while driving.
• Verify the successful drop off of every child.
• Help account for the location of anyone who goes missing.
• Keep detailed logs of drive times and mileages for record-keeping.
• Deal with upset parents.
• And not get home until late in the evening, once everyone has been delivered.
Your school bus drivers are the backbone of your school bus fleet. Without drivers who are reasonably happy and able to do their jobs, the entire job of school bussing becomes endless.
So, if you could make life for your drivers easier, wouldn't you want to?
Vehicle Tracking Eases Your Drivers' Burdens
Modern technology has given us a simple and reliable system for tracking and monitoring vehicles everywhere, backed by the US government. You've undoubtedly used it: it's a GPS. Lets take it one step further. In recent years, however, school administrators have discovered the benefits that school bus routing software can bring to their bus systems.
With this system, you can know where every bus in your fleet is, at all times. If a bus stops by the side of the road, you know instantly and can be ready if they call for assistance. You'll get detailed information about every aspect of the drive, from gas mileage to your drivers' breaking habits.
Now, from a financial standpoint, this makes a lot of sense for you. Margins are tiny in the school bus biz, and anything you can do to optimize your fleet is going to help your bottom line. You'll be able to create better routes that deliver students more efficiently, saving on gas and routine wear-and-tear on your fleet.
Saving money is great, but maybe -just maybe- the real benefits are reaped by your school bus drivers.
Happier Drivers Are Better Drivers
Everyone says that you shouldn't drive with distractions in the vehicle, yet if you find yourself driving a school bus, your life is one big set of distractions. Anything that takes some of the weight off of your drivers' shoulders is going to pay off in the form of safer driving.
• Routine bus checks can be shortened because of the wealth of maintenance data.
• Students can be automatically logged getting on or off the bus, based on RFID student cards, eliminating lost students.
• There will never be any doubt about hours worked or miles driven, it's all right there in the data.
• Fewer misdirected students means fewer angry parents yelling.
• In the case of a breakdown, they never have to worry about you finding them. Sending rescue vehicles is a breeze.
Plus, being able to monitor your drivers' performance also helps make for safer bus driving. You'll know when drivers are cheating the speed limit, or braking too suddenly. Being able to review this data with them will lead to far more productive briefings about their driving performance.
There's no reason for your bus drivers' lives to be any more difficult than they need to be. A simple, inexpensive tech upgrade can lead to better bus driving all around: optimizing routes, saving money, accurate record keeping and student safety.
When it comes to being a school bus driver, it doesn't get much better than that.