For the fourth consecutive year, the Houston Independent School District made the list of the “100 Best Fleets” in North America for 2014. Winners were announced April 9 at the NAFA Institute and Expo and published in Governing magazine. HISD’s Transportation Services made a significant jump on the list from last year, moving from number 47 to 39.
Each year, the top 100 fleets in North America are chosen based on documented criteria for excellence, including the use of technology, quick efficient repair turnaround, creativity and repairing vehicles right the first time.
“We’ve continued to move up on the ‘100 Best Fleets’ list each year,” said HISD’s Senior Manager of Fleet Operations Mark Swackhamer. “Going through the application process helps us strive for perfection. I feel our operation is moving forward.”
Two other school districts nationwide were also on the list, including another Texas district, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, and Orange County Public schools in Florida. Austin ISD, also located in Texas, received an honorable mention.
“I am grateful to work with such a strong team, and I am very happy to see other school districts on the list because it helps them move forward also,” said HISD General Manager of Transportation Nathan Graf.
Many factors contributed to this year’s jump in rankings, such as new GPS systems to reduce less idle time and improve pick-up times, low battery alerts in the buses and new activated silent alarms. The district also continued its expansion of the use of biofuels and its eco-driver training program, resulting in cost savings.
“This recognition is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our transportation staff,” said HISD Chief Operating Officer Leo Bobadilla. “Our buses transport more than 30,000 students to school every day, and it takes a whole team focused on service excellence to get the job done.”
HISD’s Transportation Department has also been recognized with the Flexy Award (2013), Top 40 Green Fleets award (2011-2013), the National Association of Fleet Administrators’ Excellence in Public Fleet Sustainability award (2013), the Telly Award for an educational safety video titled “School Bus Shuffle” (2014), and was one of two finalists for the National Association for Pupil Transportation safety and quality award (2012).