Each year since 1999, SCHOOL BUS FLEET magazine has published a feature section called “Great Fleets Across America,” recognizing an exemplary fleet in each state. The following tips and tactics are distilled from the Great Fleets, 1999-2000. Enjoy.
AURORA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
To foster open communication, Transportation Director Augie Campbell formed a Building Council, an advisory committee of drivers and other staff. The council addresses problems and creates solutions.
To improve driver retention, new buses are spec’d with air-power doors, air-ride seats and sound-deadening ceilings. “A more relaxed, comfortable driver is a safer driver,” says Transportation Director Ron Despenza.
New York, 1999
“ChappaQuips,” the six-page company newsletter, is a great tool in maintaining a personal connection with the staff. Joan Corwin, president, says the newsletter isn’t filled with industry news, but rather snippets about the company and its people: birthdays, anniversaries, employee of the month and other personal news. “It holds them together as individuals,” Corwin says.
INDPT. SCHOOL DISTRICT
To reduce unscheduled maintenance, the transportation department stocks a golf cart with light bulbs and fluids and sends it around the bus lot while the vehicles are being pre-tripped. Drivers who find problems with lights or fluids simply hang a sign with an “L” or “F.” The problem can be handled right then and there, without a trip to the garage.
Drivers participate in a program called “Read Across America.” Using books they purchase with their own money, drivers at all eight schools in the district hold 20-minute reading sessions with children on their buses.
PAIGE BUS ENTERPRISES
To help build morale and develop strong relationships with his staff, company president Phil Paige holds a monthly contest among the approximately 130 drivers to have “Lunch with the Boss.” Two lucky drivers are chosen in the drawing.
To speed the process of reporting misconduct by student passengers to school principals, the district developed an online reporting system. Not only does it save time in relaying the information to administrators, but it also reduced the need to print 20,000 five-page discipline reports.