HomePartner UpdatesAddress Driver Shortages by Reducing Routes with an Expert Assessment

Address Driver Shortages by Reducing Routes with an Expert Assessment

It’s estimated that 80 percent of school districts and bus companies are currently experiencing school bus driver shortages. While many districts are feverishly working to recruit new drivers, reevaluating your existing transportation routing can give you more options to alleviate the shortage.

Norristown Area School District (NASD) in Pennsylvania, wanted to reduce costs and find an easier, more efficient way to transport their students. Through a routing analysis with First Student’s team of experts, NASD was able to simultaneously reduce the number of routes, vehicles and drivers needed on a daily basis.

NASD engaged with First Student with two main goals: the first being a routing re-design project to find efficiencies. First Student’s Routing Center of Excellence worked with the district to consolidate 130 van routes, down to 80.

Secondly, the district wanted to reduce the administrative burden and cost associated with managing multiple vendors. By significantly reducing routes, First Student could take on all of NASD’s transportation operations and reduce their transportation contractors from five to one.

By creating a more efficient transportation system, First Student was able to address more than the district’s immediate concerns. In addition to streamlining services and reducing costs, NASD is in a better place to address future concerns like the driver shortage crisis affecting thousands of school districts amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re more than satisfied and we do consider this a true partnership.”

– Bob Malkowski, District Operations Manager, NASD

The First Student Vans utilized by NASD offer the flexibility and efficiency so many districts are looking for. As more and more districts turn to Uber, Lyft and taxis to transport students in the face of driver shortages, First Student vans offer the same safe and reliable transportation provided by a yellow school bus. With specialized training available through FirstServes, vans can also elevate the transportation experience for special needs students.

“We’re more than satisfied and we do consider this a true partnership,” said Bob Malkowski, NASD’s district operations manager.

Prior to introducing vans service with First Student, NASD implemented FirstView (First Student’s bus tracking software). The launch was going well, but the consolidation under First Student allowed FirstView to be fully rolled out. To date, over 2,000 parents have downloaded the FirstView Parent App.

Bob Malkowski says FirstView has been an overwhelming success. “It was flying off the shelves,” he describes.

“By partnering with First Student, we have been able to streamline our transportation services and provide more consistency for families,” said NASD Superintendent Christopher Dormer. “First Student Vans combines a personalized experience, which is ideal for students with unique needs, with all the peace of mind First Student delivers as the recognized industry experts in student transportation.”

Student transportation is complex, and there are many places to find efficiencies. That’s where our routing team comes in. For the past 25 years, First Student’s routing team has been transforming the way districts transport their students, ensuring the best home-to-school ride possible.

If you are interested in improving your routing and addressing staffing concerns, please email FirstTransportationSolutions@firstgroup.com. Learn more at FirstStudentInc.com/routing.

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