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February 25, 2014  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Mutual respect strengthens driver-technician relations

Clear communication is also essential to a solid working relationship between these groups of employees. In-service or safety meetings provide an opportunity for growth in these areas by allowing drivers to learn about their buses and ask the techs questions. Drivers must also be proactive in reporting maintenance concerns.

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At Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colo., the transportation facility features a drive-through lane so that drivers/buses can pull in the shop and get what repairs they need while they wait, and also discuss concerns with the technicians. Pictured are technician Don Hough (left) and driver Les Shannon.
<p>At Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colo., the transportation facility features a drive-through lane so that drivers/buses can pull in the shop and get what repairs they need while they wait, and also discuss concerns with the technicians. Pictured are technician Don Hough (left) and driver Les Shannon.</p>

Drivers should be proactive in reporting concerns
Officials say that drivers can help keep relations with technicians positive and smooth by properly pre-tripping their school bus and promptly reporting maintenance issues or concerns they have with the vehicle.   

Rosa’s drivers are reminded throughout the school year about the importance of a proper pre-trip inspection. Also, bus maintenance and operation are covered in safety meetings, on driver trainer ride-alongs and through electronic bulletin board messaging.  

“When drivers understand how the bus operates and why it is important for the safety of children, they are more inclined to not only work with but proactively support our technicians,” he says.   

At both Goleta Union School District and Prince William County Public Schools, drivers are asked to complete a work order when there is a problem with their bus, and there is follow-up with or by the technicians.

At Goleta, drivers fill out the work order and then communicate the problem verbally to the technician.

“The technicians have been told to listen to complaints and work order needs, to not pre-judge what they are being told and to find the common ground so that the problem can be fixed in a timely manner,” Matheny says.

Prince William County Public Schools’ technicians keep drivers fully apprised of repairs made to their buses by recording the faults they found and what was corrected on maintenance report forms they receive.

How the operation benefits
There are multiple benefits when bus drivers and technicians work together and communicate respectfully and clearly.

As Anderson indicated earlier, the time for preventive maintenance repairs at Adams 12 Five Star Schools has been reduced, which suggests that workflow can improve. He also says that driver satisfaction has increased.  

Rosa says that teamwork builds bonds among staff members and ultimately leads to resolving issues more quickly — key components to a professional operation.   

It’s important to remember, however, that solid driver-technician relationships are often a work in progress. Rosa says his operation is “not perfect,” but his employees have gotten “much better at not playing the ‘blame game.’”   

Bishop says that “the result we seek is to reduce driver frustration, reduce vehicle down time and maximize instructional time in the classroom for our students. To these ends we have been moderately successful, but we are nowhere near perfect.”

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