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 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 →
Transportation Services will host its third round of Coffee & Conversations on Wednesday — an opportunity for the department to share important updates and progress, as well as gather feedback to better identify ongoing challenges.
The bi-monthly meetings are normally held in the morning and evening at rotating locations. This time, the group will gather at Transportation Services’ Northwest Terminal and Eastwood Academy.
In the morning session, Interim General Manager John Wilcots IV will guide attendees on a tour of an HISD school bus to demonstrate the features of Zonar, a fleet management and tracking system implemented earlier this school year. Continue reading →
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.” Continue reading →
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.” Continue reading →