Respect Your Transportation Director
published on November 01, 2011 by George Mastros
If a transportation director is doing their job properly, they are often times forgotten about and left to the side lines. These people are responsible for a large percentage of the school district’s budget, and are often the focus of budget cuts.
Your transportation director shoulders a lot of responsibility. Among them are:
- Safely transporting students back and forth to school. This is much more complicated than many people realize. When I was growing up, I rode a bus to school, but I never gave it much thought. The bus showed up every morning at approximately the same time, and brought me back home at approximately the same time. While it’s true that most transportation falls into the “boring” category, there are plenty of exceptions that need to be accommodated. Things like special needs, alternate pick up and drop off locations, court ordered split custody routing and private school students make this process more complex and challenging.
- Handling disciplinary issues. We would all like to think that children are well behaved on the school bus, but the reality is there are occasional disciplinary issues that need to be dealt with.
- Managing bus drivers. Every bus on the road must have a driver. More buses, more drivers. With every large work force, there are always things that need to be handled. Sometimes there are union issues, absenteeism, seniority, scheduling over-time for field trips, hiring and scheduling substitutes, and accommodating driver’s personal, sick and vacation time.
- Organizing school field trips. It may sound simple, but with tight school budgets, having extra buses and drivers can be problematic. Often times, schedules must be approved early in the school year to make sure there are no scheduling conflicts with other fields trips and driver availability.
- Accommodating athletic trips. Most school districts handle a large number of athletic trips. These trips are different from other trips because there are requirements to transport athletic and/or music equipment.
- Maintaining buses. I constantly forget to change the oil in my car. Imagine having dozens (or hundreds) of buses to handle? Things like regular maintenance, visual inspections, and un-planned maintenance items can make scheduling that much more difficult. You don’t want your school bus to break down while it is transporting students. In a situation like this, another bus is usually dispatched and the students are transferred from one bus to another, but this could happen anywhere, including busy streets and hazardous intersections. Your Transportation Director works tirelessly to make sure the buses are kept in good condition.
- Negotiating fuel costs. Did you know that the average school bus gets 7 miles per gallon? Every penny (per gallon) makes a big difference in fuel expenditures.
I am not a transportation director, but I have dealt with many of them on a daily basis for the last 13 years as an owner of Orbit Software. I truly respect the work that they do and the necessary attention to detail that is a constant in their daily duties.
Transportation Management Software, like BusBoss can help with several items on this list. Things like special needs, alternate locations, split custody, disciplinary issues, driver seniority, absenteeism, violations, testing, fields trips and more can be handled by BusBoss. This allows you to organize your entire transportation operation in a user friendly software application that also has the ability to optimize bus routes helping you to save money.