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Transportation Department sees major improvements in service

Restructuring changes lead to more drivers, more on-time arrivals

2014-01-21 11.59.03

Even after a monumentally difficult start to the semester that saw emergency cold repairs on nearly 300 school buses – including replacing 120 new batteries – Metro Schools’ Transportation Department has much to celebrate. Since restructuring last fall that led to changes in staff, systems and procedures, the Transportation Department has seen measurable improvements.

Improved hiring, training and retention practices mean the district moved from 90 open routes in September to just six in December. The new training program has been completely redesigned using national models of excellence. The time between completing training and earning a license has also dramatically decreased, meaning new drivers can get on the road faster. As a result, “route-sharing,” where drivers make more stops than scheduled on their regular routes to cover to absent drivers, has decreased 37% since Oct. 1, 2013.

Parents and students are already feeling the benefits:

  • The number of late morning buses has decreased 69% since Oct. 1, 2013.
  • The number of afternoon late buses has decreased 28% since Oct. 1, 2013.
  • Calls to Customer Service about transportation have fallen 36% when compared to the fall semester of 2012.
  • Late bus and other calls of concern to the Transportation Department have fallen 46% when compared to the same period in 2012.

Results are improving for bus drivers and other employees, too. Thanks to changes in the service area, turnaround time on most bus repairs has decreased from three weeks to just two days. Longer hours at the shop’s “Fast Lane” repair line have contributed to this. The Fast Lane, which does simple repairs like brake lights, fluid top off and tire changes, is open nine hours each day, up from three-and-a-half, meaning other areas of the repair shop can concentrate on more involved repairs. The department is also working with more contracted vendors for replacement parts, giving it greater options to find out-of-stock parts faster.

As improvements continue, that data should stay on its upward trend. With a fleet of 653 buses transporting 45,000 students twice each day, the Transportation team will keep looking for more efficiencies and ways to improve services.