SafeStop, one of several apps that track and reports the real-time location and arrival of school buses, points to data collected from customers across North America that school districts can save about $20,000 a year in fuel costs from excessive idling.
The data is one of four key findings released this week from the app’s analytics platform. SafeStop found that the average school bus idles for almost two hours per week, or nearly 21 minutes per day. Multiply this by the average number of school buses in a fleet—usually around 100—and $2.60 per gallon for diesel fuel, and this is how SafeStop arrived at the annual $20,000 in savings.
SafeStop said its analytics also identified an average of 6 to 8 percent of school bus stops being consistently unused, which can affect the load balancing and ridership stats that student transporters use to create routes each year. The company added that this data could be used to consolidate bus routes more evenly to save money “exponentially.”
A survey of customers also indicated that using the school bus app has resulted in an 80- to 90-percent reduction in the number of phone calls to the district transportation office seeking information on the location of their children’s buses.
SafeStop also found that most parents register for the app within the first two weeks of the service launching at a school district, and usage increases when the transportation system undergoes significant changes or during inclement weather or. For instance, SafeStop said over 1,000 new users downloaded the app last month as cold winter weather affected their local areas.
“By taking action with any one of these, significant money can be saved and operational efficiencies can be improved,” said Patrick Gallagher, SafeStop’s director of sales.
“We are not only excited that parents are flocking to the service when it’s available in their school or district,” Gallagher added. “But when district staff or transportation service providers can tell us that they’re using our data to become more efficient and smarter about their operations, that’s the true testament to our success. The modern-day transportation manager is responsible for an unbelievable amount of tasks, the most important of which is getting children safely to school. Our job is to help them in any way we can.”
SafeStop’s customer base has doubled year-over-year since its inception in 2013. Gallagher said that “tens of thousands of users” are on SafeStop just this year, and the company aims to have nearly 4,000 vehicles on the platform by the start of next school year. Over the past two months alone, he added that SafeStop has launched in new districts in California, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio and Oregon. It has also gone international with launches in Canada.