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School District 18

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Sumner County SchoolsTyler’s VersaTrans TripTracker, an Excellent Return on Investment

When your software frees up over 7 and a half hours a day…it’s a definition of efficiency that simply adds up

When Shelley McLeod, Transportation Manager of New Brunswick School District 18 in Canada, decided to attend an International ASBO conference in Toronto in 2008, she didn’t realize that she would find a solution that would save her department and the District significant time and money.

A VersaTrans TripTracker® demonstration at the ASBO conference was a real eye-opener for McLeod. She knew District 18’s transportation needs and processes … and she knew she needed help. She quickly saw that VersaTrans TripTracker could address challenges the transportation department of three faced both in staff time and functionality and she was right.

After using the software for more than a year, she couldn’t be more pleased with the results. McLeod commented, “We are very pleased with the power and ease of operation VersaTrans TripTracker provides.” Equal to this ease of operation, was the software installation and training. She was impressed that after just two days, they were up and running smoothly, efficiently, and easily.

Rural communities often present unique issues for student transportation, and School District 18 is no exception. Covering 8953 square kilometers, the District serves the New Brunswick capital of Fredericton, the Villages of Doaktown, Harvey, Stanley, McAdam, New Maryland, and numerous rural communities. For District 18, this translates to 9,000 K-12 students transported in 110 buses to school, scheduled events, and other activities.

With 94 users in 34 schools, communication and timely information is essential. And because VersaTrans TripTracker is web-based it’s easy for authorized users to request transportation, plan a single or reoccurring trip, and distribute the information to those who need it. An added benefit of VersaTrans’ web-based software is that District users can access key information on any computer with an Internet connection.

In fact, the automation features available in VersaTrans TripTracker have streamlined the district’s whole process from planning to fulfillment. Prior to implementing VersaTrans TripTracker, this work was very labor intensive. Scheduling and processing 1,300 trips per year was performed by one staffer, dedicated full-time to the task. The eventual creation and use of an Access® program helped but it was still time consuming and inefficient. This commitment pulled valuable time away from other duties placing demands on the remaining staff of two.

Trip planning is now so easy and efficient it takes that same person less than 30 minutes a day to get the vehicles on the road where and when they’re needed. What’s more, without the need for a dedicated full time employee to process trips, everyone has more time to focus on other duties, such as regular school bus routing and helping with spot vehicle inspections.

Vehicle maintenance is critical for any school, and for McLeod the calendar function is a favorite for managing this task. Vehicle service dates are input into the system and a notice pops up when it’s due for service. This important information alerts users not to send a vehicle due for maintenance out on a trip.

Another feature McLeod likes is trip cloning. She commented, “The trip cloning function is a real time saver. For example, scheduling an eight-week skating class for the elementary students is fast and easy. The details for the trip only need to be entered once. Then all I do is clone the trip and change the date for each recurrence.” This simple feature reduced a previously time consuming, cumbersome, and complicated process into one that is simple and accurate. McLeod points out that managing transportation for co-curriculum students at different sites with various schedules also presented a challenge that VersaTrans TripTracker handled very well.

Another benefit of implementing VersaTrans TripTracker has been the reduction in the lead time required for scheduling a trip. McLeod said that prior to implementing VersaTrans TripTracker the advance notification time was three weeks. Now it’s just ten days. This shorter window helps to control trip interruption and offers increased communication among all parties. With time and staff at a premium, every change produces big results.

E-mail is now extensively used by District users to relay information about trip requests, approvals and cancellations. The previous trip request submission involved completing request slips, sending them to the transportation department, and then waiting for the trip processing and scheduling to be completed. The standard two-week process is now completed in minutes. Especially helpful is the self-service aspect. According to McLeod it empowers users to act independently and frees up transportation staff time.

With increased demands being placed on schools today, everyone is asked to do more with fewer resources both financial and personnel. In light of that, McLeod couldn’t be more pleased with the excellent return on investment School District 18 has realized from VersaTrans TripTracker. “Significant savings have been realized in staff time both by the transportation office, and by the schools who are making the trip requests,” she notes.

Today, all aspects of trip planning for School District 18 run more smoothly and are more effective. So smooth in fact, that McLeod rarely takes advantage of the knowledgeable and experienced VersaTrans technical support representatives but is comforted to know that they are there - just in case.

It’s clear, when you look at the numbers, VersaTrans TripTracker software provides significant savings to the bottom line. It sure did for New Brunswick’s School District 18.


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