Transportation Manager, Red Clay Consolidated School District
My name is Kelly Shahan. I’m the Transportation Manager for the Red Clay Consolidated School District. We have over 16,000 students in our district and we transport about 80% of those on approximately 157 school buses.
We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for many years now, as has most of the country. One of the things we wanted to do was find ways to improve that situation through better routing, improve our professionalism, and also improve the level of customer service that we can deliver to our families, and to our board and to our district.
We’re the first district in the state to introduce the VEO Now GPS tools. Getting everything signed and ready to go, it took us right up to 2 weeks until school started. Right away, I could tell this team, they flew in, it was not their first rodeo. They got everything installed. I didn’t have to do anything. It was a normal work day for me.
What we were able to do when using the tool was immediately find bottlenecks in our routing system. Places where buses were being hung-up and it was taking extra time for buses to get to school, delays in routing. So what the tool allowed us to do was shrink our number of buses by doing better routing. In addition, to deliver better customer service. We had an increased level of confidence when we spoke to the parents because we actually had facts and information. We could pull up the tool and say, “hey, here’s where the bus is and it’s going to be at your stop in 3 minutes”. What we were saying was accurate and true because we were seeing it live on the GPS feed.
I gave access to the administrative assistant who supports operations in the district office and what she’s able to do now, is when she receives those concerns, she can immediately pull up the tool and address the concern right there with the parent. She doesn’t have to spend her time calling our office, having us research it, get back to her and then she gets back to the parent. It really changed how we look at things and how our customers now look at us because they feel like we’re a more professional organization because we actually have data and information to give them versus just what we think. And you can’t refute data.
Our district just started with the VEO Now tool. My only wish, knowing what I know now, is that we had moved forward with all of the tools from the beginning of the school year.
My one piece of advice for anybody considering the VEO Now tool is to just go for it!