In my first post for this blog, I told the story of one Tyler transportation client who used GPS software and hardware to help protect their drivers. Here’s another great story I recently heard from a different Tyler client, who implemented GPS in their bus fleet. At first they were worried that they would meet with resistance from drivers unhappy with the idea of being monitored by a GPS system, but soon the value of the system changed even the most stubborn minds.
The Tyler Telematic GPS system that this district implemented can collect a wide array of information. With it, fleet managers can instantly pinpoint the location of any vehicle, track speed in real time, and see alerts to speed above posted speed limits. Mechanics can monitor engine health and respond to diagnostic codes. Fleet operators can access and report on on-time arrival and on-time departure from various locations on the route. Tyler Telematic GPS also provides intelligent driver behavior tracking.
Some drivers are understandably nervous about the idea of having their performance so closely monitored, and at some districts, the introduction of GPS causes dissension. But the Transportation Director at this district figured out a way to get everyone on board early. When he implemented GPS in his fleet, he demonstrated the system to his drivers by setting up presentations which gave time for each driver to watch the system in real-time. The Director told me, “When you can see that bus— how fast the bus is going, the fact that they’re braking, the fact that he’s doing a right hand turn, a left hand turn —they can really see what the system is tracking. I’ll pick somebody in the room and say, ‘Here are all the stops you made. You’re hitting all your stops right on the money. You’re doing a good job! Now, let’s say that you don’t stop at this stop sign up here; we can track that and know that. Or, let’s say you go flying through the school zone, we’re going to know that as well.’” He also made a point of letting his drivers know that so long as they had nothing to hide, they had nothing to worry about. With this introduction, he then had to just let the system speak for itself.
Drivers at this district began to see GPS as a helpful tool. This positive relationship grew a lot stronger during a spate of severe weather events. Several bridges washed out in a short period of time, and thanks to GPS, fleet managers could monitor the safety and progress of the buses. Fleet managers were even able to talk drivers through detours in real-time.
Now, new or substitute drivers often request that the fleet managers track them on the GPS as they drive their route, so that they can be quickly alerted if they take a wrong turn or make a mistake. The Director told me, “That’s what the driver mentality has turned into. It went from nervous to, ‘Please have me on the screen with the GPS in case I need help.’”
GPS can be a controversial tool, but at least at this district, the benefits of the technology were so apparent that it soon became a favorite tool of the drivers. I hope we can see similar success at more districts across the country!