In an age of increasing child safety concerns, the times when they are outside of the home and not with parents are of prime concern. Most of that time is when they are at school or commuting between home-school.
Thankfully, modern, automated GPS enabled school bus management software has made such rapid progress that it has become a boon for solving this issue.
From managing complicated and diverse student pickup and drop-off schedules, managing available buses and drivers, constantly including changing addresses and timings to keeping costs manageable, today’s cloud-server-based fleet management software is a great tool for school administration and staff.
Parents view the safety and security of their children as a top priority while selecting schools and without it, schools would fall short of checking off a most important checkbox.
Why has school-bus tracking software become so popular?
The benefits are so many that it is now increasingly mandatory for schools to equip their buses with modern, GPS enabled tracking devices and cameras.
The greatest benefit of using modern, automated technology in managing a fleet of school buses is enhanced student safety. This aspect – kids, safety, security – is perhaps the most important point that parents look for while selecting schools for their children.
One could safely assume that a school with great strengths like top grades, great sports facilities, great faculty, etc. but one with a poor safety record would be passed over for a school that may be lower on some of the parameters above but scores solidly on security, safety, and transport.
Technology for managing a school-bus fleet has made rapid advancement in recent years. GPS-enabled fleet management software takes care of everything from managing students, bus and driver scheduling, external parameters (weather, traffic, delays) while not compromising on student safety at all.
Let’s look at 6 leading benefits of deploying automated school-bus tracking software.
1) Live monitoring and tracking: Safe to say that the most important benefit of GPS-enabled school-bus tracking software is the assurance it provides to parents as well as the educational institute about their whereabouts and safety.
Parents can monitor the movement of a school bus in real-time as it travels through its daily route and not stay stressed about their children. Delays due to traffic congestion, weather, route deviations, etc. are automatically seen.
This becomes particularly important when the children are traveling outside their daily beat and schedules on occasions like picnics, educational excursions, field trips, sports trips. Parents remain assured since the system not only allows live tracking but also sends alerts and notifications.
In addition to the safety of the children, this also allows parents to conveniently match their schedules and times to receive their kids when they alight at drop-off points.
2) Optimize Fleet Management: Manual scheduling of buses can be inconsistent and inefficient, and result in confusion and frustration.
This also throws off-kilter the all-important ‘morning routine’ of parents – especially working ones- and can lead to significant problems. Last-minute cab expenses delayed reporting for work, late reporting at school, road-rage due to frustration – it all happens!
Bus management software uses class times, drop-off, and pickup locations across the student population to manage routes. This minimizes – eliminates, too – late arrivals, anxious calls from parents, inefficient fuel usage, and any confusion.
It also optimizes resource usage and can often reduce the required number of buses and drivers by up to 50%, thus reducing operating costs.
Such ‘tiering’ of buses, drivers, and schedules isn’t an easy task – several parameters need to be balanced. However, bus-scheduling software provides endless options by analyzing all possible scenarios and arriving at optimal route options.
3) Optimizing routes: School administration must deal with changing situations and numbers every year including the number of students, costs, student addresses, and class schedules.
This means changing routes, times, costs, a number of vehicles and drivers/personnel needed – managing all this isn’t easy at all. Poor scheduling results in inflated costs, lengthy bus rides, and frustrated students and parents!
Using a software scheduling system is the way to go. Automated fleet management software enables school administration to incorporate regular changes across student loads, traffic patterns, timings, and required vehicles and personnel and come up with the most efficient schedules.
4) Monitoring driver behavior: A massive benefit of such software is that it can track driver behavior! Worrisome driver behavior like using unplanned routes without prior permission, speeding, rash driving, making dangerous turns, breaking traffic rules, etc. is now tracked by the software.
Since driver behavior is a leading reason for several fleet-management issues, this helps in its reduction, and importantly, ensuring student safety.
5) Freeing up Admin staff: Maintaining manual records, schedules, accounts, (etc.) is a tedious and time-consuming task.
It also takes up a lot of work-hours for school admin. Scheduling software with GPS enabled in buses automatically records all details (distance, times of travel, trips completed, on-schedule route completion). This data is then available for analysis, calculations, and review.
Prevents unauthorized usage: the GPS-enabled tracking device in the bus notifies administration right from the time that the bus engine is switched on. This prevents malpractice.
Maintenance schedule: the software sends alerts whenever scheduled maintenance times arrive. This automatically helps admin manage the fleet better including managing bus miles traveled, parts replacement dates, etc.
Keeping drivers updated: information needs constant updating. New addresses, different pick-up, and drop-off points split custody of children resulting in different schedules on different days, one bus to come to school, return on another – the list is endless!
Drivers can access all this information via online interfaces. Importantly, the admin needs to change it only at their central command unit making it easily available to all drivers and buses as needed.
6) Manage Costs: we all know how stressed school budgets always are. It seems like Govts. is always cutting school budgets!
Unfortunately, transport budgets are among the first to be cut and, as a result, routes are cut, changed, shortened, or combined. Bus scheduling software optimizes results by using a minimum fleet size and resources while maintaining kids’ safety.
Using modern, automated GPS enabled Fleet Management System: it is evident that schools today need to install such a system to manage their busy schedules, costs, and student safety.
Not only does this achieve the above but also help in the general reputation of the school – it qualifies as a “modern, tech-driven school”- which is not only an important consideration for parents but also has indirect benefits such as reduced insurance premiums, freeing-up of work-hours of school admin staff for other tasks, and maintaining better overall administration quality.
Conclusion: School bus management software ensures student safety, reduces costs, improves overall school administration, and provides peace of mind and assurance to parents, kids, and school staff alike. Installing it is a no-brainer!