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Recruiting (and Retaining) School Bus Drivers with Tablet Technology

Districts nationwide are all facing the same issue: school bus driver shortages. After years of struggle recruiting and maintaining a fully licensed team, the global pandemic took the shortage from a challenge to an industry-wide emergency.

In an effort to find and keep qualified drivers, many districts offer higher or more frequent bonuses, paid training, increased benefits, or guaranteed hours. But there is one potentially overlooked benefit: on-board tablets as a driver assistance device.

Recently, clients using the Tyler Technologies on-board tablet — Tyler Drive™ — have seen success positioning the technology’s on-board guidance and navigation as a stand-out feature to attract applicants.

Reduce New Driver Learning Curve

In interviews, transportation leaders discussed how new drivers feel more comfortable behind the wheel when they can rely on-board turn-by-turn navigation and student ridership functions, rather than a clipboard of paper route sheets.

At Indian Prairie School District in Illinois, Ron Johnson, director of support operations shows candidates Tyler Drive as part of their job interview. Johnson knows that being a school bus driver can be stressful and feeling confident in the ability to do the job well and safely is a key to recruitment. He stated that when he “allows prospective candidates to see the technology that we have on all our bus routes, [it] ensures they can focus on driving the bus safely.”

In Texas, Tyler Independent School District’s John Bagert, director of transportation, shared that his team “promotes [Tyler Drive] alongside our other benefits when recruiting.” In interviews, he also finds that showing the tablet improves applicant excitement for the role; as he put it, he “lets the tech do the talking.”

Driving Long-Term Careers

Recruiting drivers is only half the battle: retaining good drivers is equally as important. For districts that have implemented Tyler Drive, interviews revealed that the technology is not only a reason new drivers join — it is a reason why veteran drivers stay.

Jeff Wainwright, director of transportation at Saratoga Springs City Schools in New York faced some initial nervousness from his drivers but found that opinions quickly turned around: “Now that we have been using the technology for a few years, drivers have come to depend on it.”

The sentiment is similar in California with Brice Sunderland’s team at Chaffey Joint Union High School District. Sunderland, the transportation director, shared that Tyler Drive’s rollout feature “gives us the ability to adapt on the fly, and it eases the mind of any driver covering another route that they may be unfamiliar with.”

State-of-the-Art Technology

More than 300 districts are already realizing the day-to-day advantages of Tyler Drive. Beyond navigation and student ridership, the technology also includes tools to manage vehicle inspections, timeclock tracking, and much more. Acting as a true future of the student transportation industry, this technology welcomes and guides drivers into a long-term career transporting our most precious cargo.

Learn more about how school districts utilize Tyler Drive for school bus driver recruitment and retention.

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