busHive has streamlined field trip processes and improved office procedures for School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties in South Carolina.
“Though marketed as a field trip program, busHive encompasses much, much more,” stated Activity Center Supervisor Jake Shealy.
The program’s software is designed to effectively organize a district’s transportation office’s workflow by capturing and calculating employee route time, work hours, field trips, bookkeeping and payroll for an all-encompassing solution to the department’s needs.
After dealing with an insufficient and glitchy field trip system for some time, School District Five started looking for a new solution in 2019. busHive was decided upon for the 2020-2021 school year. With training carried out virtually over Microsoft Teams, busHive staff collaborated with the district payroll department, field trip scheduler, school site field trip administrators and three operations area supervisors for a successful July 2020 implementation.
busHive fit all three of the district’s requirements for its new field trip system:
- Ability to block out unavailable dates and times
- Easier invoice generation with electronic delivery
- Capability to sort and pull outstanding invoices
“It’s just an overall complete program,” said Vicki Beane, transportation department secretary, bookkeeper and department payroll clerk for the district. She explained that upon setup, information was input into busHive on every driver, creating a one-stop-shop for pertinent details like when their driver’s licenses expire and even their status on physical performance tests.
So far during the 2021-2022 school year, regular field trips have not yet resumed but athletics and band trips are running. busHive has already improved the workflow among different departments and multiple staff members confirmed that busHive has made their jobs easier.
Karen Nesbit, an activity specialist who coordinates field trips for the district transportation department, said that busHive has made her job much more efficient. The Driver Portal makes it easy for her team to assign trips, which drivers can then accept or turn down on their end.
And all three of the district’s wish list items were achieved.
Transportation staff can identify and block dates for which they have limited or no driver and bus availability for classroom field trips during the school day. For events such as the Special Needs Olympics, dates can now be blocked off from administration requests so enough buses and drivers are assured for the event.
busHive’s system takes information from three sources to help calculate payroll and any overtime:
- Route information usually input at the beginning of the year with new trips added as needed
- Pay rate information provided by department administrators
- Driver working hours, calculated when they enter post trip information through busHive’s Driver Portal
Prior to busHive, adjustments to driver hours were entered on a daily time change report spreadsheet and forwarded through several steps in the payroll process, which caused delays. busHive’s capability eliminated redundancies by allowing area supervisors to enter daily driver work time adjustments, which are now captured and available to payroll clerks in real-time. Data duplication was eliminated and supervisors can also enter notes for future reference.
Similarly, the invoicing process has been streamlined. Instead of manual information inputs, back-and-forth over outstanding amounts, unreceived invoices and paper forms that had to be scanned in, it is now an entirely online process with transparency and accountability. Now with busHive, once the field trip scheduler enters driver time and trip mileage cost, a time-stamped invoice is generated and emailed directly to the site bookkeeper or authorized representative.
“Not only have I seen it clear up the “we said, they said” issue, but some of our site bookkeepers are turning invoices around to accounts payable in as little as five workdays,” Shealy relayed.
Thanks to a little tweaking by the busHive technical support team, the district soon had a system that answered its payroll needs by allowing staff to transfer data to a spreadsheet compatible with the district’s payroll office. This has cleaned up glitches with employee pay and meeting payroll deadlines.
The state of South Carolina owns and maintains the school buses used by all its districts, but School District Five owns and operates 30 additional activity buses. Beane related that busy times like springtime require the use of additional activity buses borrowed from the state. This includes a mileage fee, which busHive also tracks.
Another helpful feature is Trip Request Messages, which allows schools to send transportation corrections and changes to any trip request without sending emails.
“busHive’s software really provides transparency. Transparency fosters accountability,” said Shealy. He added that busHive’s team is a joy to work with and can accommodate any customized reports or features School District Five has needed.