Creating a School Bus Maintenance Policy: Five Tips
published on April 16, 2019 by Sonia Mastros
One might say that there are three "pillars" of a safe and successful school bus transportation system. You need great drivers, as well as safety-minded riders. However, what can occasionally be overlooked is the importance of maintenance. A bus is only as reliable as its last maintenance check, and sometimes, it becomes easy for a district to skimp on school bus maintenance - particularly if budgets are becoming tight.
However, this isn't an area where corners can be cut! So in today's article, we want to talk about elements that should be in everyone's school bus maintenance plan.
Five Critical Aspects of a Bus Maintenance Policy
1. Drivers always do a personal inspection in the morning.
A driver should never leave the bus bay without having conducted at least a basic walk-around check of their bus to ensure there are no obvious maintenance problems, flat tires, etc. Once the bus is on the road, they will be primarily responsible for it - and that includes any existing problems.
Along with this, the district should strive to always have a bus in reserve specifically in case of unexpected mechanical issues.
2. Go beyond the minimum.
Whenever possible, look to exceed any state-mandated maintenance or performance requirements for your buses. It helps ensure they'll always be within compliance with the law, as well as giving you some "wriggle room." A bus that's always only barely passing legal inspection is only one minor problem away from being unfit for the road.
3. Maintenance issues should be addressed sooner, not later.
If a bus needs an expensive round of repairs, there's a very strong chance that the situation began with a cheap repair which wasn't done. Mechanical issues on buses don't go away on their own. Addressing issues as soon as they first become noticeable is a huge cost-saver in the long run.
4. Seek experienced maintenance managers.
A well-experienced manager for your bus maintenance will easily be able to pay for themselves, even if their base salary is higher than a younger worker. Their experience will help them spot those critical minor issues, as well as knowing numerous tweaks and tricks for stretching a limited maintenance budget.
5. Make smart technology investments.
Technologies intended to make buses safer on the road, such as mapping and GPS tracking systems, can also be a major boon to school bus maintenance! The right tech will allow you to get substantially more information about the performance of your buses on the road, and make it easier to identify when that performance begins to suffer. Just as one example, drops in gas mileage become much more noticeable with GPS tracking.
BusBoss can help you put together mapping and tracking technologies that improve safety and bus maintenance! Contact us today for a free live demonstration.