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North Okanagan-Shuswap School District No. 83

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North Okanagan-Shuswap School District No. 83Reducing costs, increasing efficiency, improving compliance

Using the Tyler’s VersaTrans Solution and Zonar Systems’ tools to overcome transportation challenges

The North Okanagan - Shuswap School District No. 83 (District 83) in British Columbia, Canada, faces a host of transportation challenges. Among them are rising fuel costs that are out-pacing stagnate fuel funding rates and regulatory requirements that take staff time and energy. Fortunately for the school district, Frank Marasco, Manager of Transportation, has the vision and tools to overcome these challenges.

As every school district knows, fuel costs have escalated precipitously in recent years. In British Columbia, however, the government’s fuel funding rates have remained the same since 2002. This creates a difficult situation for transportation departments in the province. To deal with this situation, Marasco and his department relied on VersaTrans FleetVision, which his department has been using for eight years and had recently integrated with Zonar’s Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report System (EVIR) through the addition of DataSpark.

The first step that Marasco took toward reducing the district’s fuel cost burden was to track fuel consumption. He was able to easily do this using Zonar’s fuel entry feature. The data gathered was downloaded into VersaTrans FleetVision and from there Marasco ran reports that showed him how his fleet was using fuel and where that use could be reduced. One key area was bus idling: The district’s drivers often left their buses idling for up to a half hour, wasting costly fuel.

The result of this fuel-use study was an anti-idling program for District 83’s bus fleet. Since beginning this program, Marasco says, “Our fuel consumption has dropped 12 percent.” This program has not only saved the district thousands of dollars in fuel costs, but it also has reduced the amount of smog-producing greenhouse gases that the fleet emits. This program was so successful that Marasco was asked to lead a province-wide program for the school bus industry.

Marasco’s vision extends beyond the anti-idling program. He and his team are beginning a re-routing process to reduce the number of miles that his fleet has to travel each day. To that end, Marasco has installed Zonar’s HD-GPS units in all of District 83’s buses. Using VersaTrans OnScreen, Marasco and his team can analyze real-time GPS data to tweak bus routes and make them more efficient. This analysis will be used to plan the new routes and create them in VersaTrans RP. Based on the success he has enjoyed so far with VersaTrans and Zonar, Marasco says he is “looking forward to integrating VersaTrans RP into the mix.” He anticipates that the new routes will add to District 83’s savings.

The other major challenge facing District 83 is efficiently complying with Canadian national safety code regulations. These regulations stipulate that trip inspections must be conducted every day, with defects reported and repaired within 24 hours. In the past, this meant that drivers had to manually inspect the vehicles and then fill out time-consuming paper inspection reports. That changed when the District 83 transportation department began using Zonar Systems EVIR along with VersaTrans FleetVision with DataSpark.

Now, the District 83 drivers perform inspections using the EVIR hand-held device, which reads tags that are placed in key locations on each vehicle. The device records the conditions in each of the key inspection “zones” and, when the inspection is complete, the data is wirelessly uploaded to Zonar’s secure servers and to VersaTrans FleetVision through DataSpark. The EVIR system generates a time- and date-stamped inspection report and if any defects are identified, VersaTrans FleetVision will automatically generate a work order that is submitted directly to District 83’s maintenance shop. Marasco notes that, “the shop is notified within five minutes” of defects that need to be repaired. The automated work order system helps the shop to schedule the maintenance and to run more smoothly and efficiently. Marasco’s team in the maintenance shop are, “thrilled because each morning they get instant reports of any defects.”

Another benefit that Marasco has found using VersaTrans FleetVision with DataSpark and EVIR is confidence. Since all of the data is stored in VersaTrans FleetVision, within the work order history section for each vehicle, and in the EVIR secure database, the transportation team can access detailed inspection and repair history for any vehicle, at any time. Marasco knows that by using this system, “all reports are tracked and stored for a year, allowing us to meet all possible legal requirements” for both driver duty status and inspections. Marasco never needs to worry about finding a paper report because all of the pertinent information is stored in their database.

Transportation departments are bound to face challenges. With vision like that of Frank Marasco and the tools provided by VersaTrans and Zonar, the challenges can be overcome and transportation departments can run safely, efficiently and more cost-effectively.


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