Transportation Services provides new school year planning update at Coffee & Conversations

Transportation Services has completed more than half of school bus route scheduling for next year, department leadership announced Tuesday during the department’s Coffee & Conversations.

Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV said the department got a head start on planning for the upcoming school year and now has 60 percent of routing and scheduling for the 2019-2020 school year already completed.

“The good thing is for the first time — at least in my 12 years that I’ve been with the department — we can say that the school year is ending, and we have most of the route creation done,” Wilcots said.

Tuesday’s Coffee & Conversations marked the latest in a series of similar sessions held throughout the year to allow Transportation Services the opportunity to share important updates and progress, identify ongoing challenges, and gather feedback.

During the meeting, Wilcots also confirmed that the district was shifting away from the concept of magnet hubs and returning to more traditional bus stops and routes. Many campuses will continue to serve as “bus stops,” but they will no longer be designated as hub locations, which should reduce the number of students at each stop and cut down on surrounding traffic congestion.

Westside High School Parent Michel Hinton and said she appreciates the comprehensive approach the department has taken to address transportation issues this school year.

“I appreciate what I’m hearing so far,” said Hinton, who attended the session. “It sounds like you’ve done your due diligence with this to make it better.”

Wilcots also shared the department’s plans to launch this summer two new tools designed to facilitate communication with parents and allow them to physically track their students’ buses.

  • Let’s Talk! is an easy-to-use, online platform that will streamline communication by giving parents and school staff a central location where they can submit all questions and concerns, track their inquiries, get quick answers, and rate our service. Let’s Talk! will supplement the Call Center, allowing both Transportation and Customer Care to focus on improving customer service and reducing response times.
  • SafeStopis a school bus tracking app that will allow parents to track their students’ buses in real time as they travel along their designated routes. Transportation Services will use the analytics from the app to further streamline operations.

Both tools are currently being piloted, with plans to launch them districtwide in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.