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Could Fuel Efficient Tires Be The Solution To The Gas Crisis?

School districts across North America are employing several transportation management solutions to increase fuel efficiency and cut costs, especially given the recent spike in gas prices. Investing in fuel-efficient tires for their buses is one chosen strategy. The question is, do tires designed for fuel efficiency really work? The short answer is: they do, but they don’t necessarily save districts money.

The Dangers of Illegal Bus Passing

When it comes to passing school buses, motorists in each state are subject to a different set of laws and regulations. Though most motorists understand the safety risks of illegally passing a bus, it remains a consistent, though dangerous, practice. In fact, a survey conducted in 2019 by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services indicates that there are more than 17 million violations each school year.

The School Bus Driver Shortage

Getting students safely to and from school is a priority for everyone.  However many school districts are experiencing a shortage in school bus drivers.  School bus driver shortage is an ongoing challenge that districts repeatedly face before, during and throughout each school year.  There are varying reasons for the shortage, but the effects are clear.  The shortage puts additional pressure on existing drivers and route scheduling.

Warning Signs Of School Bus Bullying

Students who are being bullied often exhibit some warning signs.  If parents, school bus drivers, teachers and other school officials are aware of these signs they can take action to stop and work on reducing or eliminating the issues.

Does Student Tracking Ensure Safer Bus Rides?

Despite some initial controversy, RFID-based student tracking systems are beginning to be utilized around the country to make student bussing safer and more effective.

In just the last couple years, programs have been implemented in cities across America. Consistently, the reports have been positive: student tracking truly does help keep students safe, as well as giving districts numerous new ways to optimize their busing.

In the meantime, the fears that this would somehow turn into a "Big Brother" scenario are being shown as unfounded. The potential for gain is great, with very little actual potential for abuse.

While the initial system installation can require a substantial up-front outlay, this investment is quickly rewarded.

Five Ways RFID Student Tracking Creates Better Bus Rides

1) No-Question Bus Ridership Tracking

With RFID scanners on your buses, there's rarely any question as to whether a student rode a bus. After all, they're being recorded every time they get on or off. This, in turn, is transmitted instantly to your servers in the office.

Besides the obvious benefits to your state reporting, this greatly reduces the chances of miscommunication between parents, students, and drivers. If a parent discovers they're unsure whether their child got on the bus, all it takes is a couple mouse-clicks to discover the truth.

2) Improper Departure Alerts

Another benefit to this tracking system is that, when it's tied to a GPS system, the computers will instantly know which students are supposed to get off at which stops. If a student tries to leave the bus at the wrong stop, the driver is immediately alerted so they can assess the situation.

Generally, bus drivers are given some discretion when one child is getting off with a known friend. On the other hand, if a student is simply confused, a potentially dangerous mishap is avoided entirely.

3) Medical Alerts

When a student's records are tied to their bus routing, it means drivers can always be alerted if a student with special medical needs is riding. Students with respiratory or cardiac conditions can be placed where the driver can keep an eye on them.

By the same token, should a legitimate medical emergency occur, the integrated tracking system will speed dispatch response. You'll know within a couple feet where the bus is from the moment it comes to a stop. So, you can already be getting ready to send out assistance.

In situations where minutes can make the difference between life and death, onboard bus tracking systems greatly improve the odds.

4) Truant Student Detection

It happens: A student arrives on the bus in the morning, but then "somehow" ends up behind the gymnasium rather than appearing in class. Or they may simply walk right back off campus before anyone sees them.

Student tracking makes these sorts of games far less likely to work. If you have scanners on your school doors, for example, the system will expect to see the student pass through within a few minutes of delivery. If it doesn't happen, you can be alerted.

Similarly, a few RFID scanners around your perimeter mean you'll know quickly if a student is trying to ditch.

5) More Power to Your Drivers

While it's been a running theme, it's worth explicitly mentioning the improvements to your drivers' experience. Onboard bus tracking systems can take a lot of burdens off their back, leading to better morale and more effective driving:

  • No more annoying hand-written checklists or sign-in sheets.

  • Complete performance tracking reduces their need to manually record bus usage data.

  • Clear and unambiguous onboard maps point them to every logged student's stop.

  • Faster calls for support when help is needed.

  • No chance of getting lost with GPS systems.

In short, these tracking systems help keep your drivers "in the loop," empowering them to make decisions more easily while reducing bureaucratic burdens.

 

Are There Downsides To Student Tracking?

There are remarkably few arguments against RFID tracking, besides the initial installation costs. Otherwise, the most common reported problems are:

  1. Parents misunderstanding the system, and overestimating its effects on privacy. This can be addressed with better communications.

  2. Students wrapping their ID badges in tinfoil to defeat the RFID tracker. However, this is easily countered with a visual check.

  3. Lost cards, which will be an unavoidable ongoing cost.

That said, the overall safety and reporting improvements should vastly outweigh the expenditures associated with replacing lost cards.

Is It Time For Bus Tracking?

On-bus student tracking systems can quickly make your bus routes safer, your drivers happier, and your state reporting easier. The combined cost savings virtually always outweigh the investment, not to mention the ease of mind they bring to both parents and administrators.

To learn more about the power of RFID student tracking, simply contact us to receive a free consultation!

Orbit Software 10 Questions To Ask When Considering A School Bus Tracking System To Minimize Parent Complaints

What do you think? Are there other aspects of student tracking that can help ensure safer bus rides? Let us know in the comments below!

 

12 Warning Signs That Your Bus Capacity Is Unsafe

Out of all the jobs a school does, there's probably none that's more central or vital than protecting the students in its care. Unfortunately, it seems like there's been a rash of incidents lately with schools running buses that are dangerously overcrowded.

School Bus Routing Software: Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have some questions when it comes to all of this talk of school bus routing software, especially when so many other schools are starting to use it. It's not uncommon to have questions about software when it is promising such lofty goals: better bus route management, real-time mapping solutions, and streamlined ways to make sure all of the students get where they need to safely. So, are all of these promises reality? What can you expect from route management software? Here are the top four frequently asked questions on the software and all of their answers.

Ways To Verify The Safety And Efficiency Of Your School's Bus Routes

How long has it been since your school district updated its bus routing and tracking policies?

Quick Tips On How To Shorten Your Bus Routes

It might seem obvious, but there really is no benefit to having your buses on the road any longer than they need to be. Transportation budgets are a huge part of any business that maintains a bus fleet, and every extra minute they're on the road ultimately costs you real money.

Keep Your Employees Organized With Bus Routing Software

 

We bill our BusBoss software as bus routing software, but the truth is, it goes far beyond simply scheduling buses. As more schools move towards entirely computer-based solutions for running their operations, there's a real need for software that performs more than one task. The more functionality a piece of software can provide a district, the more value it provides.

 

 

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