Saving over $100,000 on transportation expenses

First Planning Solutions improves operational efficiencies of bus routing for Connecticut district
By: | Issue: January, 2019 | Case Study
January 31, 2019

For over 20 years, Fairfield Public Schools received most student transportation services from First Student except bus routing, which theConnecticut district performed internally. “After utilizing the same routing approach for years, we soon realized we could improve,” says Doreen T. Munsell, executive director of finance and business services at Fairfield Public Schools.

District officials asked First Planning Solutions, a division of First Student, to study their route plan and to identify improvements using a student transportation management solution.

Monumental savings

After two weeks of analyzing the district’s original plan, the First Planning Solutions team realized that Fairfield Public Schools could increase efficiency by eliminating two routes. The elimination of two buses would save the district $100,000 annually since operating one bus per year costs roughly $50,000.

District officials wanted the new routes ready by September 2018, so that spring, the First Planning Solutions team conducted two four-day training sessions at district offices by presenting and validating the transportation management system’s new data, such as route creation, stop sequencing and student stop assignments.

District administrators from the transportation, business and IT departments learned how to use the system, how to make required route changes and how to assign students to support startup. The First Planning Solutions team members also built an interface between the district’s student information system and the routing platform to improve functionality. They then distributed reports to First Student transportation personnel as well as district drivers and personnel.

During this time, the First Planning Solutions team implemented the new busing system alongside the district’s original routes. This allowed drivers to test the timing and safety of the new system without disrupting the normal bus routes and schedules.

‘Efficient and seamless’

The system went live after the district confirmed that every bus departed and arrived at their destinations on time, that student rosters on buses and at stops were accurate, and that stop times for all runs aligned with driver feedback. 

“First Student’s routing experts were responsive, proactive and professional,” says Munsell. “The work was a tremendous undertaking, and besides cost savings, the process was efficient and seamless, with significant results.”

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