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Student Transit, Inc.

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Student Transit, Inc.The Contractor’s only Choice for Efficient Operations

Cut cost and become more efficient at the same time

Jim Fey, Transportation Director of Student Transit, Inc., in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, takes quality very seriously. Student Transit, which is owned by Jim, along with his father Phil and brother Ray, provides 15,600 rides over an area of 237 square miles every day. They hire the best employees and purchase top-of-the-line buses. Their staff of about 108 includes drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, and routers who take pride in caring for the 90-bus fleet and in providing safe and reliable transportation for students to and from school. This total-quality approach to student transportation has allowed Student Transit to keep costs down, expand services, and still make the money they need to grow and sustain the business.

“We feel it’s very important that we do a great job of being safe, efficient and economical,” says Jim when asked about Student Transit’s formula for success. A major part of this formula is Tyler's VersaTrans Routing and Planning. Before purchasing the software in 1994, Student Transit used a paper-based system and then a homegrown computerized system for tracking routes. In both cases, they had to pull out the route books at the beginning of each school year and manually update routes and driver directions. Jim worked very closely with VersaTrans during the training and implementation phase over the 1994-1995 school year, and learned how to make the most of his company’s investment in the product. Student Transit went “live” with VersaTrans during the 1995-1996 school year, and started reaping the benefits that a truly effective computerized routing and planning system provides.

“Before we had VersaTrans, if changes took place it was very difficult to figure out new routes. Now if someone calls with an address change, it’s really easy,” says Jim about the switch to VersaTrans. Because the system is flexible and easy to use, VersaTrans has helped Student Transit save money as well as time. One area where they were able to cut costs was in their summer staffing requirements. Before installing VersaTrans, three managers had to work about 1,125 hours over a 5-week period, the classic “crunch-time” that includes the three weeks before and two weeks following the opening of school. After their second year using VersaTrans, only two Student Transit managers were needed to work a normal 8am- 4pm schedule during this period, reducing their total number of hours worked to about 685. Because of this reduction in hours, the company was able to save thousands of dollars in personnel costs out of their annual budget.

VersaTrans has also helped Student Transit become more efficient throughout the school year and is an invaluable tool that Jim relies on for smooth day-to-day operations. Says Jim, “I use every facet of VersaTrans. It is easy to configure on your own and has been a huge time saver for us.” VersaTrans frees up time for his staff to work on issues that arise on a daily basis, such as address changes and mid-year route adjustments. Because information is easy to access, it is easier to work with parents and school staff members who call into the office with questions or concerns, since answers are often only a click away. As Jim simply puts it, “you can maintain your sanity.”

Increased efficiency has also allowed Jim to take advantage of the extensive set of analytical tools within VersaTrans, and to expand the types of services he offers to Eau Claire School District. Running annual bus mileage reports for the state of Wisconsin, performing grade advancements, and preparing new routes for the coming year are just some examples of these services. In addition to these, each year Jim uses VersaTrans to help Eau Claire optimize routes by performing various ‘what-if’ scenarios and bell-time studies. Jim says it takes an average of only 15 minutes to run different routing scenarios until the optimal set of routes for the year is found. The district also calls upon Jim for planning and redistricting services. For example, if changes in the community are planned, such as the development of a new subdivision, Jim can use VersaTrans to project future school enrollment numbers and show potential boundary adjustments.

Recently, Jim added Tyler's VersaTrans FleetVision to Student Transit’s list of core transportation technology tools. The three mechanics on his staff now have a system that helps them stay on top of bus maintenance schedules, track essential inventory, monitor fuel consumption, and effectively manage work orders. The software helps Jim and his mechanics make important decisions that keep the 90-bus fleet at its best. Most importantly it helps Student Transit ensure that children in the Eau Claire school community are being transported by conscientious drivers operating the safest possible buses.

Student Transit Inc. has a long tradition of investing in high quality equipment, personnel and technology. As a result, they have earned a reputation for safety, reliability, and efficiency. Today, VersaTrans products are an integral part of this total-quality approach to student transportation, helping Student Transit save time and money and creating value for the Eau Claire school district as well. As the Eau Claire area continues to grow, and as the transportation needs of the school district increase, Student Transit is positioned to anticipate these needs.


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