Parents of students riding HISD buses now have two new tools designed to ensure better bus service for students and better customer service for parents with transportation-related questions and concerns.
Beginning this school year, Transportation Services is launching the bus tracking app SafeStop and Let’s Talk!, an easy-to-use, online program that aims to streamline communication between Transportation Services and parents and school staff.
“We want to provide an easy-to-use service that will help parents who utilize our service,” Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “Increased effectiveness in our operations and our customer service continues to be our main goal for Transportation Services this year.”
Transportation Services is continuing its recruiting efforts as the school year comes to an end, with the department hosting four job fairs this summer to hire new bus drivers.
The district has been working this past year to address a bus driver shortage by adding more drivers to its roster. The job fairs will continue through June and July.
“We want people who are reliable and hardworking,” Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV said. “My goal is to have one bus driver for every route as we head into next year.”
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
Services will stop making changes and updates to existing routes at the end of
this month as the department shifts it focus to planning for the 2019-2020
Students with new
transportation requests submitted after the cut-off date will be assigned to
existing routes and stops.
“We began this school
year with several challenges. Since that time, we’ve worked hard to address the
concerns of parents and make changes as necessary,” Transportation Services
General Manager John Wilcots IV said.
Transportation Services is working to address its driver
shortage by offering free training for individuals who wish to obtain a
Commercial Driver’s License.
The class for the license, also known as a CDL, is held Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Northwest Terminal (6351 Pinemont Drive) and is open to anyone interested in becoming an HISD bus driver until the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
With planning already underway for the upcoming school year, Transportation Services is employing a proactive approach to address issues involving routing and scheduling.
General Manager John Wilcots IV said the department will stop making routing changes for the current school year on April 1. This will allow the department to begin planning for routes for next year — well in advance of the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.
“As we plan the bus routing for next school year, we want to make sure our students are not walking long distances and that they don’t have long wait times to board our buses,” Wilcots said. “The work that we will begin on April 1 is critical to ensuring the school year gets off to a smoother start next year.”
Transportation Services is continuing its efforts to address the district’s bus driver shortage with a job fair next week.
The job fair will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 20 at the HISD Construction Services Facility (3200 Center St., 77007) Continue reading
Transportation Services is tapping existing bus drivers to serve as department ambassadors tasked with recruiting fellow bus drivers and encouraging them to join their ranks.
The 20-member internal recruiting team will be established by mid-February, Transportation Services General Manager John Wilcots IV said. The hand-picked team will work on recruitment each day after they complete their routes.
Recruitment duties will include attending job fairs and other recruitment events and posting recruitment fliers in areas with high traffic, such as libraries, beauty shops, and restaurants.
“They’re the best people to go out there and tell others about their jobs and really sell Transportation Services,” Wilcots said. Continue reading
With an eye toward the 2019-2020 school year, Transportation Services is restructuring its annual planning process, building in time to verify all routes and notify parents well ahead of the start of school.
The team will begin actively planning and scheduling next year’s routes in April — significantly earlier than in previous years — allowing the department to have a rough plan by the end of the school year. Bus drivers then will be tasked with doing real-time test runs in July to validate routes and their feasibility.
With the new schedule, the department will be able to conduct multiple route verifications and still notify parents several weeks before the first day of school, giving them plenty of time to review. Continue reading
Transportation Services Interim General Manager John Wilcots IV has been selected to permanently oversee the district’s transportation department.
A transportation industry veteran, Wilcots has served as interim general manager since September 2018. Since then, he has been credited with leading the department through focused efforts to improve student bus service by increasing route efficiency and addressing critical staffing needs.
His new position is effective Jan. 28.
“The experience and knowledge that John brings to the table has given him a steady hand at the helm of the Transportation Services department,” HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby said. “I’m glad to have his leadership as we continue to improve departmental operations.” Continue reading