9 Ways to Save on Your School District's Transportation Budget

9 Ways to Save on Your School District's Transportation Budget

For many school transportation departments, budgeting for transportation costs can be a challenge. Finding ways to reduce expenses and increase efficiency is essential for ensuring that transportation runs smoothly and that the department stays within budget. With careful planning and savvy strategies, transportation departments can save money on transportation services while still meeting the needs of their students. Here are some simple tips for how to reduce transportation expenses and stay on budget.

1. Utilize technology when building routes.

By using the latest technology, transportation departments can streamline operations and increase efficiency, while also helping to save money. For example, using a combination of both EZRouting and EZDistrict software can help transportation departments to create the most efficient routes possible. Furthermore, this technology can help to reduce costs associated with transportation, such as fuel and labor.

2. Optimize your routes.

Route optimization is another important aspect of managing transportation costs. This involves creating routes that have the fewest stops, shortest distances, and least amount of drive time as possible. By optimizing routes, transportation departments can reduce fuel expenses and lower the number of buses or other vehicles needed for transporting students, thus lowering overall costs. Additionally, route optimization allows for more accurate scheduling of trips so that students arrive on time and safety protocols are followed correctly.

3. Cut down on unnecessary stops.

Another way to save on transportation expenses is by cutting down on unnecessary stops. By carefully analyzing and adjusting routes, school officials can ensure that drivers are not making unnecessary stops on routes that take them out of the way and cost additional money in both gas and hourly wages.

4. Encourage school bus driver retention with incentives.

Driver shortages have become an issue for many school bus transportation departments due to a variety of factors. However, training new drivers is expensive and time-consuming, and it’s considered more budget-friendly to retain the same school bus drivers each year. Offering incentives to existing drivers can help encourage retention and save costs overall. Examples of incentives can include bonuses, additional vacation days, health benefits, and many other types of incentives that can improve driver's lives and keep them from switching to a different line of work.

5. Allow in-town drivers to park their buses at home.

Allowing in-town drivers to park their buses at home can save money in several ways. It can save gas because drivers can pick up all the students within close proximity to their homes, saving the trip to and from the bus depot. This will also cut down on time spent parking and repositioning school buses, leading to cost savings overall. Additionally, it can allow districts to house less buses, saving money on transportation yards and parking costs.

6. Monitor mileage and preventative maintenance for buses.

It’s important to keep track of how many miles each bus is traveling in order to ensure that each is getting the expected miles-per-gallon. If gas mileage is worse than it should be, the bus should be inspected to ensure it is running smoothly and efficiently. Regular maintenance on buses can also help to save money over time by preventing more costly repairs in the future.

7. Sign up for gas rewards programs.

Many gas stations offer rewards programs for customers that can help save money in the long run. Signing up for gas rewards programs can lead to discounted gas prices, rewards points, and other benefits that can lower gas expenses significantly. Additionally, gas cards are a great way to keep track of gas purchases and ensure that costs are staying within budget. Be sure to use one consistent program for all buses and drivers, as this will help your department to rack up the most points for the most savings.

8. View your routes live.

Using EZDistrict software, transportation departments can view their routes live in order to make sure they haven't missed anything. This allows them to ensure that routes are truly optimized and adjust as needed, helping to save money by cutting down on unnecessary stops and fuel expenses. As an added bonus, EZDistrict also provides real-time GPS tracking, allowing administrators to monitor student safety more closely and accurately.

9. Periodically review routes.

Finally, monitoring and adjusting transportation services is essential for ensuring that transportation expenses are kept to a minimum.  Periodically reviewing routes, especially when there are new changes, such as student address updates or changes in school start and end times, can help ensure that all buses are running efficiently. This can be done with the help of route optimization software such as EZRouting, which makes this process simple and cost-effective.

By following these tips, school transportation departments can reduce costs associated with transporting students and ensure that their budget is being used effectively. Utilizing technology, optimizing routes, eliminating unnecessary stops, and providing incentives for driver retention are all effective strategies to help keep transportation services within a transportation department’s budget. With careful planning and careful management of routes and drivers, schools can save money while still providing reliable student transport services. Contact us today to see how we can help your transportation department to save money and route students more efficiently than ever!