As an example, buses would often have to pull over and call for service because a signal light or other bulb wasn’t working. “An analysis of these breakdowns caused us to invest in LED lighting at a higher acquisition cost per bus, but in the long term, it reduced the total cost of ownership of the bus and increased instructional time,” Bishop said.
Also, the district’s crash numbers are down by 35% and are being reduced every year. This has been aided by the predictive maintenance program but is primarily a result of improvements in driver training programs, enforcement of safety standards and bus routing.
Bishop joined Prince William County Public Schools more than 11 years ago, after retiring from a 30-year career of service in the U.S. Army. He credits his staff for the success of the district’s fleet, especially Vehicle Safety Coordinator David Walton, who is primarily responsible for the effective cost-cutting programs.
The most important part of these improvements was that students didn’t miss class because buses were breaking down on them, and that they arrived to school safely, Bishop said.
“Bus acquisition, preventive maintenance services, unscheduled repairs, etc., is all focused to achieving those top two goals,” he added. “Our breakdown rate has gone down, our crash statistics have gone down, and that means maximizing instruction time.”
Orange County cuts diesel use by 151K gallons in a year
Reduced idling, biodiesel and new buses have helped Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools lessen the amount of diesel used by its yellow fleet.
Florida’s Orange County Public Schools actively measures key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage its operations.
One of the many strategies implemented in the last school year was to reduce the amount of diesel fuel utilized by the district’s yellow fleet. Jim Beekman, senior director of transportation, said that the effort is being carried over to this year as well.
Here is an example of a report on objectives from the operations division’s publication on performance, which is sent to the school board on an annual basis:
Department objective: To reduce the amount of hazardous waste produced and to increase the amount of recycling of hazardous and non-hazardous materials generated by the department
Measure: Reduce idling time
Target: 468.7 hours per school day
Result: 442.5 hours per school day
The measure determines how long buses are idling before, between and after runs. District officials said that this is important to monitor because it has a direct influence on fuel expenditures as well as the amount of emissions placed in the air.
The department measured 100% of its route buses for idling in 2012-13, which resulted in reducing idling time from 520.7 hours per school day to 442.5 hours.
Based on a fuel cost of $3.55 per gallon, a total of $61,025 dollars in fuel costs was avoided last year through the anti-idling program. As for the environmental impact, the effort reduced the fleet’s carbon matter output by 170.3 metric tons.
Lessons learned from this new measure have pushed the goal out to managers’ scorecards to be monitored on a weekly basis, in order for the department to be more responsive to any spikes in the data that may occur.
Additionally, Orange County Public Schools has utilized biodiesel fuel and, through its capital campaign, has purchased more fuel-efficient buses to replace older buses.
The combined initiative of anti-idling, biodiesel and fuel-efficient buses resulted in an overall reduction of 151,788 gallons of diesel fuel this past year. The economic benefit was a cost avoidance of $538,847 in fuel costs to the district, and the environmental benefit was a reduction of 1,503 metric tons of carbon matter output.
Orange County Public Schools, which is based in Orlando, transports 67,618 students per day on 906 route buses, traveling about 16.6 million miles per year.