New transportation software helping phase out manual bus inspections

Roughly 90 percent of HISD bus drivers are now completing their required twice-daily bus inspections electronically with Zonar, a fleet management and tracking system implemented by Transportation Services earlier this school year.

The success rate was determined as a result of one-on-one inspections conducted this week by the transportation leadership team at all four bus terminals. The spot checks were completed on-site each morning prior to the start of morning bus routes. Additional random checks will continue.

“We now have the ability to electronically collect fleet data, which is automatically accessible to our fleet maintenance department,” Transportation Services Interim General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “It’s made our manual inspection process obsolete.”

Zonar was among the new systems implemented by Transportation Services as part of their continued effort to increase efficiency and provide better service to students. The system calls for bus riders to scan a badge as they embark and disembark, allowing the district — and parents who sign up for a notification service — to track when and where students get on and off the bus.

The system also allows bus drivers to manually track students who forget their bus badges, Wilcots said, noting that his team is working with drivers to ensure this step is incorporated into their regular workflow.

“Manual entry is a backstop for us. The real benefit — the automated student data — comes from students scanning their badges,” Wilcots said. “Parents, please remind your students to use their badges every day, on every ride.”

Lost or stolen badges can be easily replaced online at Simply click on the Student Badge Program button, scroll down to the Badge Replacement Form link, fill out the form, and submit it online. The cost for a replacement badge is $5, and payments can be made online via School Pay.

For more information, visit the Transportation Services website or contact the Business Operations Customer Care Call Center at 713-556-9400.