The Secret To Saving School Money In 2014: Reorganizing Bus Routes
published on January 25, 2014 by Sonia Mastros
If your school district's budget feels too tight for the upcoming year, you may be sitting on top of a goldmine of potential ongoing cost savings.
If your district still maintains its own bus fleet, but hasn't optimized its bus routes lately, you're probably spending more on your buses than you need to. Possibly a lot more. It's not unheard of for schools to cut their transportation budget by twenty percent or more by eliminating waste in the system.
When you have a professional-grade bus management solution, it becomes simple to realize large cost savings, through multiple paths.
Here's a quick look at just some of the ways bus route optimization software can save your district money, both in the upcoming year and for many school years to come!
The Many Ways Optimized Bus Routes Save You Money
1 - Cut Buses
In terms of "all in one stroke," there are few things that could possibly save your district more money at once than being able to cut a bus or two from your routes. Even if it slightly extends the other routes, the overall cost savings are enormous.
As schools are coming to realize that outsourced bus services aren't the deal they appear to be, this is the next best thing. Running the fewest possible buses a day translates into huge per-day savings.
2 - Protect Students From Dangerous Areas
Obviously, bus routes are about safety as much as efficiency - every child needs to be delivered on time, to the right place, every time. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of wrong places in town as well, where children simply shouldn't be.
A good bus routing software package can route around these danger zones, ensuring students aren't dropped off there, or even keeping the buses out entirely. This sort of "preventative medicine" can head off all kinds of unpleasant scenarios, and keeps the students as safe as possible when getting on and off.
3 - Improved Mileage And Performance
Bus management software can take GPS data from the buses into account when building routes, as well as tracking statistics such as gas mileage from day to day. Routes can be optimized to minimize fuel consumption - such as avoiding highways - and spots which tend to be congested, can be routed around.
Additionally, this data also helps you spot maintenance issues early on, before they become expensive breakdowns.
Ultimately, when dealing with an entire bus fleet, even minor gains in fuel efficiency will add up to significant savings over the course of months and years ahead. Keeping on top of the maintenance also maximizes those savings.
4 - Locate "Lost" Students Quickly
While we'd all like to run 100% records, mistakes will always happen. Children will fall asleep on buses, or get off at the wrong stop. An optimized bus route utilizing RFID scanners helps ensure they never get off in a dangerous area, as well as keep a running log of which students should be on the bus at any given time.
Between the system's ability to immediately alert the driver to a problem, and the power of RFID chips to quickly locate wayward students, these sorts of minor mishaps can be handled quickly and with a minimum of unnecessary fuss or expenditure.
5 - Easily Make Routing Changes
Transferring students are a continuing challenge for schools maintaining their own bus system, with new students often not having a set bus schedule for days -or weeks- while new maps are worked out.
Problems like this are simple for computer automation. A good bus management software package can add or remove stops in seconds, while putting the updated routes right in front of the driver as soon as they're made. A time-consuming and costly upgrade process becomes simple and painless.
6 - Simplify Future Planning
Before computers, it could take months to even build a single set of bus routes and maps, meaning that large-scale district changes caused major planning problems at the transportation level. Districts were set, and then everyone hoped good routes could be located.
Now, the bus route planning can be part of these future expansion plans. The ability to make unlimited hypothetical maps, in seconds, means your district has a powerful new planning tool. It also allows your district's transportation supervisor to directly contribute to the process as well.
Save Money By Optimizing Your Bus Routes
If your school district needs to find more money in its budget, it's probably there in your transportation expenditures. For the cost of a single one-time software purchase, you can drastically cut your bus budget, while expanding the planning options available for your school.
To learn more, or for a free consultation on the state of your district's transportation, just let us know what you need to succeed!