As a Tyler Technologies employee, there’s nothing I like better than stories of school districts using Tyler products and seeing great success. Here’s a great story of a district that was facing huge overruns in their transportation budget, and who used Versatrans to save money — without reducing their service or laying off drivers.
The district hired a new director of transportation in 2012, and he inherited a sticky situation: a projected budget shortfall of $1.7 million! “The demographics of our community had dramatically changed,” explained the director, “resulting in our department failing to meet its budget over the last eight years. Transportation was bleeding funds from the district that were designated for other areas, causing leadership to begin the conversation about outsourcing our transportation.” It wasn’t hard for him to find the source of the budget overruns: “From day one on the job, I was told that we had buses running routes that have only a handful of students on them. If this was the case, certainly there were dollars to save. I could find the ‘low hanging fruit.’ But I needed to determine where else to make cuts.” The district had been a Versatrans customer for some time, but this director found that the program was not being utilized to address the efficiency problems.
This director used Versatrans to run reports, and surveyed the schools to make sure that his numbers for enrollment and ridership were all accurate. Once he was sure that he had the right data, he could tell his routers within extreme accuracy just how many vehicles each building would have access to, and how many students were expected to ride those buses. With that information, the district routers were able to design routes in Versatrans and analyze them to ensure that they maximized efficiency.
When analysis was complete the district was able to eliminate 31 routes, a reduction of approximately 10 percent. But these changes didn’t mean that families were feeling a loss of service. “Route timeliness greatly improved as all the routes were now staffed,” explained the transportation director. “Parents and students saw no negatives as a result of ridership changes or route times. In fact, the community and stakeholders were much happier with our efficiencies.”
Thanks to the savings in routing, the district was able to completely overhaul their transportation program. They sold 12 buses which were no longer needed, saving maintenance and insurance dollars and improving the ratio of mechanics to buses. In total, more than $500 thousand in costs were removed from the department’s budget within the first year. Their projected $1.7 million budget shortfall turned into a $50 thousand surplus at the end of the year! And best of all, the route reductions enabled them to fully staff their driver pool without any layoffs.
Congratulations to these dedicated transportation professionals for their success!