HISD Transportation Services kicked off the new year with 41 fewer bus routes — an intentional reduction designed to streamline operations and increase efficiency.
Transportation officials report that operations are running smoothly following the reduction and note they have seen an average of 20 or fewer buses — less than 3 percent of the district’s 860 routes — arriving late to school each morning during the first week of the spring semester. The numbers are tracked manually.
“We’re continuing to look for ways in which we can do better. I believe that we can always improve,” Interim General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “But we’re off to a good start.”
Wilcots said the team was continuing to review routes to identify those that could be combined or eliminated as a way to further increase efficiency and provide better service to students. He said he expects to see additional deleted routes in the coming weeks.
Transportation Services also is continuing in its push to recruit new bus drivers as the department continues to face a critical driver shortage like many of its surrounding counterparts. Interested candidates who are student focused, safety minded, and customer service driven should apply online at DriveHISD.org or attend the next job fair from 4 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22, at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St.
Wilcots also stressed the importance of the ongoing Student Badge Program, which was launched last fall. The program calls for HISD bus riders to scan a bus badge as they get on and off the bus each day. The measure is designed to provide the district with valuable, real-time ridership data and parents who sign up for the service with real-time alerts when their children get on and off the bus.
Students must scan their badges in order for the district to be able to collect the automated data.
“With each badge scan, we capture data that is invaluable in our continued effort to provide the best service possible to our students,” Wilcots said, urging parents to remind their students to carry and scan their badges each day. “These badges are key to our data collection. But it’s about more than just data. It’s about student safety,” Wilcots said. “When they scan, we know where they are. It helps us — and you — know they are safe.”