When the spring semester starts in January, HISD’s Transportation Services will be operating 860 bus routes — 41 routes fewer than they did at the end of September.
The nearly five percent reduction is part of the department’s continued efforts to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and provide better service for students, Transportation Services Interim General Manager John Wilcots said.
A comprehensive review was conducted to identify routes that could be tweaked, combined, or eliminated.
“Our routing and scheduling department has taken a hard look at all routes to identify opportunities for improvement,” Wilcots said. “Increased efficiency means we’ll have shorter routes with fewer stops. Buses should get to and from school more quickly.”
The goal, Wilcots said, is to have all afternoon routes — barring traffic accidents, mechanical issues or other unforeseen circumstances — completed on a regular basis by 6:15 p.m. beginning in mid-February.
The move also reduces the number of new bus drivers needed to operate the routes, which helps the department as they face a critical bus driver shortage.
Wilcots said he also has placed a strong emphasis on renewing the district’s partnership with TransFinder, the company that provides the department’s internal routing software. Wilcots said he and his team are working directly with TransFinder to ensure the software addresses HISD’s unique challenges, specifically its urban traffic patterns and ongoing driver shortage.
As part of that renewed partnership, Scheduling Senior Manager Tiffanie Williams recently attended a week-long TransFinder training session in New York. The TransFinder team will come to Texas in January, when they will spend two weeks conducting training for the 11-member routing and scheduling team.
• Jan. 7: 860 bus routes
• Jan. 8: TransFinder University Training at HISD
• Feb. 15: All afternoon routes completed by 6:15 p.m. barring unforeseen circumstances