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August 21, 2012  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

District revamps transportation for increased efficiency


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ARLINGTON, Va. — The local school district here has been making changes to its transportation services operations to increase efficiency and better serve students and their parents.

Last fall, Arlington Public Schools hired an outside consultant to conduct a study of its transportation operations to help identify the best ways to streamline and improve it.

One of the first steps was undertaken this summer, and it included implementation of school bus routing software to maximize the capacity of the existing bus fleet. Another step was to establish a transportation call center so that staff is available for families to answer questions and respond quickly to transportation issues.

In addition, students will be assigned to a specific route and bus stop. Officials said this will “address critical safety concerns for students who ride the bus, and allow school leaders to better communicate and serve families when a delay or other changes in service are experienced.”

For the upcoming school year, a temporary bus pass will be issued to students with their bus rider letter, and a permanent pass is scheduled to be implemented by mid-September.  
 
The transportation department’s bus drivers and attendants will undergo a four-day training readiness plan this week to help them become familiar with the changes.

The instruction will include a focus on student safety, customer service and timeliness, as well as bus pass procedures. Students’ route assignments will be distributed, and the drivers will practice their new routes.


Other articles on transportation department efficiency:

Fla. district targets efficiency, saves $6.5M

Tips for enhancing efficiency


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Read more about: efficiency, routing, Virginia


What has always seemed to be an issue is communication avenues available for school employees to handle sensitive student issues concerning transportation planning. When I first started driving we had no two-way bus radios or even heard of a cell phone. In our span of history we've went from simply picking up students out on an assigned route to stop and pick up kids if they are waiting - not even knowing their names - to today where your drivers must maintain some type of file on each student. In that file today you may have to know sensitive information, which most of that information is considered confidential; scheduling pick up drop offs at either divorced parent's instructions along with knowledge if there a "no contact order" connected with a divorce proceeding, and if so, during a specific time of day, AM, noon, or PM route - where do we pick up or drop off such students and "WHO" is named on such "no contact orders." Not to mention now we have homeless shelters, approved and non-approved daycare facilities, district to district transfers and on and on. It is a logistics nightmare sometimes to keep your files updated. You must have a centralized main location where ALL information is gathered and maintained especially for highly confidential information on students. The personnel gathering and maintaining such information must also be trained on such confidentiality policies and include within that training the medical records "HIPA Rights" which is very highly confidential. Such HIPA Rights can be located on the web or simply ask your hospital or drugstore employees for a copy of such HIPA Rights. They'll be glad to provide that for you. Point is elementary - none of us can just "wing it" anymore concerning child transportation issues. Large metropolitan areas constantly have construction issues changing the routes effected by such construction projects. Your drivers must communicate well with the office personnel on a "route hazard" with any attempt to cha

Dan Luttrell    |    Aug 22, 2012 05:17 AM

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