As the transportation coordinator for Watchung Hills Regional High School District in Warren, New Jersey, Janice Ortiz wears many hats. Organizing routes, supervising drivers, coordinating trips and special ed transportation services, and processing aid for high school and K through 8 non-public student transportation, all over three separate towns.
For Ortiz, having effective and efficient routing and tracking software is essential to running a successful transportation department.
Watchung Hills Regional High School District began using Transfinder’s Routefinder PLUS last summer after Ortiz began searching for an updated software that would better suit the district’s needs.
“When I started working for the district, I was initially using a different software,” Ortiz said. “The maps were outdated, the technology was difficult to use, and overall it was not a user-friendly program.”
Ortiz heard about Transfinder through colleagues from other districts who had experience with the software and provided positive feedback.
“They talked about how great it worked and all of the support that they were receiving,” Ortiz said. “So, I had been wanting to try Transfinder for quite a while. When I came here, my supervisor said he was willing to go for anything to make the operation easier and he ended up approving the program right away.”
Transfinder has developed routing, scheduling, and fleet maintenance solutions since 1988, and is built on industry-leading mapping and geographic information system (GIS) technology to deliver superior location intelligence and logistics management solutions.
Transfinder’s Routefinder PLUS is a browser-based routing solution, with fast, safe, and smart route creation, allowing districts to control routes and maps to plot the safest trips with real-time information.
According to Ortiz, when the district began the transition from their old software to Routefinder PLUS, they were faced with a looming deadline.
“Our previous software provider gave us until September 1st to switch everything over,” Ortiz said. “I had to quickly create all these routes in Rouefinder PLUS and I was up at home sometimes until midnight trying to hit that deadline. But Transfinder’s technology is so userfriendly, and I really did get a lot of support from them. They kept me from getting completely overwhelmed.”
Luckily, according to Ortiz, the onboarding process was simple yet thorough Once the software was in place, Ortiz had weekly calls with Transfinder personnel to help expedite the learning process and ensure a smooth software transition.
“During those phone meetings, they could actually sign-in and see what I was doing and what I was working on,” Ortiz said. “They are very hands on, so I would just set up any questions that I had or any issue that had come up while I was working on my routes, and they would basically walk me through the program and the steps to resolve any problems.”
The district also utilizes Transfinder’s Viewfinder, a system that enables Ortiz to monitor the day-to-day operations of the transportation department from any computer, quickly access updates on students, trips, field trips, vehicles, and staff.
“IT and Transfinder organized all the students from our mainframe, Genesis, into the system and created a line of communication between the programs,” Ortiz said. “Our systems now communicate to the point where anybody who needs to look up a student’s bus route or bus route information, can go into Genesis, which the whole school district has access to, as well as parents. The parents have their own portal where they can see the bus route and the bus stop and the time their kids are supposed to get picked up.”
Since adopting the Transfinder software, Ortiz says her workload has become much easier to manage.
“Everything is in one place and it’s just easy to use,” Ortiz said. “It has streamlined the whole process and I get great support from the Transfinder team.”