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Sioux City Community School District

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Sioux City Community School DistrictFind a Better Way with Tyler's VersaTrans RP

“Fool Proof” System with Robust Functionality and Reliable Support Sets VersaTrans RP Apart from the Rest

Using automation to assist with routing and planning was not a new idea for Sioux City Community School District in Sioux City, Iowa. When you consider the size of their routing territory, routes, and ridership, it is easy to see why. The district has a total of 14,200 students, 3,900 of which they transport on 52 routes (26 of which are special education routes). In the first semester of the 2006/2007 school year, their fleet collectively traveled 333,871 miles. Keeping those operations running is a challenge, and the Transportation Department team recognized the need for automation to help. However, the automation they were using was not meeting their needs - they had implemented two previous routing systems, and yet they were still routing by hand. Transportation Director Chuck Andersen knew that there had to be a better way.

“I fell in love with VersaTrans RP when I first saw it at Fort Dodge, Iowa. It was literally fool proof,” advises Andersen. At the time, Sioux City was using a combination of a homegrown database and Smartr for their mapping. They had also previously used Edulog NT system, but neither alternative provided what they needed to eliminate routing by hand.

The transition to VersaTrans RP quickly helped the team overcome some of the challenges that they could not solve using prior automation. “Placing new students on routes is a snap now - no hunting around. I know when a route is full, and can easily see another possible route to use for balancing loads. I have a one-click letter that sends bussing information and bus passes to students’ homes that has English on one side and Spanish on the other. I can print out reports by school, route, or special needs criteria, and it is all a few clicks away,” explains Andersen.

In addition to a user-friendly interface, many of the other features within VersaTrans RP have made a difference in Sioux City’s daily operations. Using routing features with VersaTrans RP, they were able to analyze their special education routes and combine them to streamline and improve efficiency. The grade advance feature has also been helpful to the transportation team and made end-of-year transition smoother. “All of the features have made life much easier,” advises Andersen, “I believe that the package will pay for itself the first year. We used to spend about $1.50 per student on information letters and bus passes. This year, with the letter from VersaTrans RP, it costs us less than $ .40 per student.”

Transitioning to a new software application to overcome limitations within an existing system can pose challenges of its own. Often users have difficulty in moving from a familiar interface to something new. However, a highly usable interface and high-quality training can make all the difference. “The staff transitioned to VersaTrans very well and feel it has made their jobs easier and more organized,” says Andersen. “The training sessions were very helpful and very professional.”

A smooth transition to a new application lays the groundwork for a good long-term relationship with an application provider, but support after implementation is critical as departments, staff, and operational goals change. “Tech support has been outstanding for us, and has been a great help since implementing VersaTrans RP. We are very pleased with the response time when we use Tech Support Services.”

VersaTrans RP’s user-friendly interface, effective features, high-quality training, and reliable and efficient support have made it the solution to Sioux City’s automation challenges. Since implementing the system, they have been able to find efficiencies within their transportation operations that have resulted in significant cost savings, and have been able to make routing by hand a thing of the past.


 

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