As the director of transportation for East Irondequoit Central School District, Kathleen Callon is responsible for a school district transportation department running approximately 100 buses and servicing three different school districts in the Rochester, New York area: East Irondequoit, West Irondequoit, and East Rochester.
Between the three districts, Callon’s department transports approximately 4,000 students, running 2,500 to 3,000 trips in an average school year, including field trips, athletics, marching band, and various other student activities. Even with such a consistently high volume of ridership, Callon and her department had been managing school trips and charter work by handwritten bookkeeping and dated mapping services until it upgraded to busHive’s system.
“Before our current system, we were doing everything with paper and pencil, plotting directions through MapQuest, creating our own bid sheets, and tracking everything through an Access database – which was very cumbersome,” said Callon. “Now we use busHive for all of our field trips and charter work for all three school districts.”
busHive, which began as Easybus in 1997, develops software to streamline workflows and recordkeeping across the entire dispatching process. The company’s field trip software plans and manages online request forms, approval paths, workflow and more to help schools handle a normally complex, manual process, utilizing their integrated personnel compliance solutions and preventive maintenance solutions.
At the New York Association of Pupil Transportation Trade Show in Albany, New York, Callon began talking with various dispatch technology developers and exploring their software options and systems, before discovering the busHive field trip software.
“We needed a software system that would enable us to spend less time using it, especially as we were growing,” Callon said. “We had added West Irondequoit to our services, and it was a lot of trips to keep track of using only Access and manual bid sheets.”
After putting together an extensive application to present to the State Education Department, the East Irondequoit Central School District’s request for funding was approved and they were able to move forward with busHive.
“We had to have training to learn to enter data into the system,” Callon explained. “I manage all the users, so if a secretary or an administrator leaves, I then set up the replacement and go through a brief training on how they would enter their new trips. It is very easy and usually does not take more than 15 minutes to 30 minutes to get them up to speed.”
The trip scheduling software gives teachers and principals quick access to its entire knowledge base, including electronic field trip forms and approval processes. It also shows transportation departments essential information on drivers, billing, and dispatch.
Callon noted that while the system did have an initial learning curve, using it quickly became second nature. As the district adds users or employees, Callon is now able to add trips quickly and easily using a mobile device, without ever having to enter a school building.
“It is so much more efficient getting into our database,” Callon said. “We enter data and then we run our forms directly from the software, compared to when we used to have upwards of 50 trips to enter manually into an Excel spreadsheet or an Access database. It is so much more efficient and stress-free this way.”