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Best Practices in School Bus Capacity Planning for Efficiency, Accountability

One of the many lessons of the pandemic has been that every school bus seat is precious. It is an important asset not to be squandered, especially in times of reduced capacity. As school districts reacted to local and state policies regarding social distancing and maximum capacity on school buses, this reality – long known to many pupil transportation planners – became obvious to all.

What exactly was learned from the pandemic and reduced capacity?

All of a sudden, pupil transportation planners learned that it really, really matters how many students ride the bus.

Not just hitting the mark somewhere between 50 and 72 elementary students, but no more than 24 students per 72-passenger bus in some locales.

How do districts plan for that? How do they determine who is going to return to in-person learning? How do they find out exactly who is going to ride the bus?

The answer lies in a general practice that some districts have used for years: requiring students to register for transportation on an annual basis. That is, in order to receive school bus transportation, students must “OPT-IN” – make a specific choice to ride the bus and to request that service from the district.

By gathering specific ridership data, the transportation department puts itself in a position to improve communication, planning and accountability.

The concept of opt-in transportation, in years past, could seem punitive. The concept of denying transportation to a student until it is requested is foreign to many communities.

The time is right for change.

Many practices that have evolved during 2020 now seem less foreign to communities. The need for the school district to improve its planning processes is perhaps better understood by parents now than in the past.

To learn more about how and why your district should implement an opt-in transportation program, read Derek Graham’s whitepaper: Student Transportation Efficiency and Accountability: Best Practices in Vehicle Capacity Planning.

Very simply, opt-in transportation allows a district to plan, to be efficient, and to communicate valuable information with the parents and school community.

Why Choose Edulog?

Edulog (Education Logistics, Inc.) has long been recognized among school transportation officials as an innovative and effective provider of software and services that empower school districts to do more with less and to be nimble and smart in their planning.

Edulog’s routing, optimization, and boundary planning software has been helping school districts make data-driven decisions since the 1980s.

Edulog’s suite of GPS solutions further enhances a district’s ability to be smarter about how it uses its transportation resources, giving it near real-time visibility into how vehicles are being operated.

Learn more about Edulog’s services and software, including our Ride Registration and Parent Portal app. 


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