According to the Virginia DOE, as many as 4,000 buses may be missing the state-required device, which prevents the parking brake from accidentally disengaging.
Whether it’s web-based systems or customizable applications, every operation’s maintenance software preferences are different. Most programs have a collection of standard features, such as inventory tracking and work order generation, but it’s evaluating each company’s exclusive offerings that will have the biggest impact on a district’s or bus company’s needs. Here are the features and specifications of eight companies’ systems.
Bus Master system features upgrades
Bus Master’s software, Bus Master Pro 6.2 Geocode, comes in Standard and Inventory versions, and it aims to be a complete system for a variety of facilities. “Our customers are large districts to small contractors, so we give both extremes a tool to make the job easier,” Owner Charles Crane says.
Both versions allow the end user to define eight different preventive maintenance schedules, enter or import fueling data, and produce work orders and invoices. In addition, Bus Master, a Microsoft-certified partner, has enhanced its mapping feature, which now exports geocoded data directly to Microsoft MapPoint for automatic route generation.
Bus Master Pro 6.2 Geocode Inventory includes modules for work orders, inventory, vendors, purchase orders and receiving history, along with cost reporting.
“Whether or not our customers use every feature available, we wanted to make sure we were giving them the total solution,” Crane says.
Dolphin Fleet Management provides customization
Dolphin Fleet Management’s design philosophy is an “input versus benefit” approach, which limits a transportation director’s keyboard time while still producing maximum results, according to the company. Dolphin’s system reduces typing with an auto-complete function for inventory and labor fields. Additionally, with the “one-click” feature, maintenance-due schedules and other information are displayed to give an overall picture of the fleet.
The software includes features such as campaign and recall management, an integrated fuel system, bar coding, work orders and personnel management. Officials say users can customize data and reports with Dolphin’s “add-ins,” tailoring the program to their operations.
The secure system is installed locally and isn’t dependent on the Internet. With a centralized database, multiple users can work on the same data and save their individual settings. Version 3.5 of the software will be available this summer, according to Dolphin.
EasyBus system can automate clerical tasks, work orders
EasyBus’ maintenance software allows users to monitor garage and vehicle needs with one system that promotes efficiency and ease of use.
The visual rather than menu-based interface and database design are more intuitive and enable display customization, says Michael Hinckley, president and CEO.
The software can flexibly track preventive maintenance, fuel and inventory for any type of vehicle. Users have the option to tailor the system to their operation and can track responsibilities outside transportation department requirements, such as regular bus washing.
A “paperless shop” can be achieved by implementing the software to electronically maintain clerical work and issue work orders. Quarterly software updates are transmitted automatically to users.
“We get a lot of feedback from clients, so when we hear something’s trending, we build it,” Hinckley says. “The system is always advancing; we recently wrote a function for automated fueling systems to key in mileage at fueling stations. It helps improve efficiency.”
Transfinder offers electronic vehicle inspection
Browser-based Servicefinder from Transfinder streamlines daily activities for operations. Users can manage parts inventories with precision, schedule technicians and repair jobs, coordinate bus availability, calculate and categorize garage costs, control worker overtime, and manage vehicle and equipment warranties. Updates are issued continuously through the web.
Transfinder recently introduced electronic vehicle inspection to its product, making the inspection process efficient and paperless, according to the company. This new feature gives drivers a portal to report and archive defects, update odometer readings and review the complete history of their buses.
“We want defects to go directly into our product so they can be monitored in real time,” says Antonio Civitella, CEO of Transfinder. “For our next generation of the product, we want to take it to a mobile device so technicians aren’t tethered to their computers.”
Trapeze Group system helps total workforce efficiency
The Trapeze Group produces several school transportation software systems that enable users to track real-time vehicle locations, keep parents and staff informed, manage school bus fleets and staff, and readily report on key indicators.
Trapeze FLEET, maintenance software for school districts, gives users a way to manage inventories, maintenance, purchasing and reporting.
It also features parts data tracking and storage, unlimited user-defined service types for preventive maintenance scheduling and ways to track actual work performance for customer billing information.
Tyler Technologies prioritizes preventive maintenance
Tyler Technologies’ Versatrans Fleetvision places priority on preventive maintenance. The system’s updated “Today” screen informs shop personnel daily when vehicles are due or past due for maintenance.
Mileage and hour meter-based maintenance tasks are managed with the implementation of Dataspark and Zonar Systems’ Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR) system. EVIR collects and organizes data, while Dataspark contacts the servers at user-defined intervals to check for new information. When the system finds new information, it’s immediately transferred into the Fleetvision database, where work requests are then automatically created.
The Tyler Pulse feature pulls valuable vehicle data from Fleetvision to use for district-wide analyses.
“The primary benefit is being able to look at the total cost of ownership of the vehicle,” says Ted Thien, senior vice president and general manager of Tyler Technologies’ Versatrans product line. “The system looks at how much a vehicle costs, appreciation and fuel consumption, and parts and labor. It’s not always as simple as ‘the oldest vehicle costs the most to maintain.’”
Zonar and TMW integrate technology for efficient fleet maintenance
Zonar Systems and TMW Systems recently integrated their technology to provide maintenance facilities with real time pre- and post-trip inspection results and remote vehicle diagnostics within TMW’s TMT Fleet Maintenance Software.
TMT software uses Zonar data to identify and prioritize repairs, pre-order parts, schedule services and automate work orders. The data fueling stems from two of Zonar’s solutions: EVIR and the V2J high-definition GPS and vehicle diagnostics system.
EVIR verifies pre- and post-trip inspections, identifies and reports defects and alerts users of noted defects. Instant notifications lead to quicker vehicle repairs and a decrease in on-road breakdowns, according to the companies.
The V2J high-definition GPS and vehicle diagnostics system provides next-generation capabilities combined with the real-time delivery of vehicle condition and performance data. Real-time vehicle data allows fleet managers to diagnose possible maintenance issues remotely before scheduling services.
Fleet managers can also create work orders, prioritize repairs, schedule repairs and order parts. EVIR users receive the inspection results within TMT software and can make informed decisions regarding vehicle health.
The school bus contractor is using an analytics platform from ByteCurve to enhance data analysis at its operations.
The engine manufacturer officially endorses and recommends two Power Service products: Diesel Kleen and Diesel Fuel Supplement.
The school bus manufacturer’s new site incorporates a dynamic design and a news service feed, along with product-related offerings.
Thomas Built Buses is now offering a feature called Diesel Particulate Filter Temperature Stabilization, aka “Stay Warm,” on its buses with Cummins diesel engines.
Teresa Stroble, a driver for District Five Schools of Spartanburg County (S.C.), is hailed for quickly evacuating 56 students when they noticed smoke.
Lee’s Summit’s purchase of Thomas Built C2 CNG buses continues the district’s conversion of its fleet to compressed natural gas.
The Guidanz app enables customers to read prioritized engine fault codes and other key engine information wherever they are operating.
Congress’ new appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 includes $60 million for EPA’s clean diesel grant program.
The school bus manufacturer is now offering Allison Transmission's FuelSense 2.0 for new buses with Allison transmissions ordered on or after May 1.
Humble ISD and San Antonio ISD in Texas are ranked in this year’s edition of the list, which recognizes exemplary fleet performance.
Dossier 6.6 features new inspection integration tools for business systems and expanded telematics.
The school bus company is honored with an award for its maintenance program in Spokane, Washington, and receives a 100% score on an inspection of one of its Minnesota fleets.
The E-Control platform is designed to provide centralized control of all the thermal management components aboard a bus.
Amid concerns about the fate of the DERA program, a new round of grants is made available to reduce emissions from older diesel vehicles, including school buses.