Tag Archives: School bus fleet management

What To Do With Aging School Buses

School buses naturally age when they have been in use for several years since the time of their manufacture. The longer the period that they have been on the roads, the greater will be their wear and tear.

Aging gives rise to maintenance issues. Weather conditions and environmental factors add to the aging of school buses.

Aging generally reduces the reliability and performance of school buses. This consequently causes an impact on the safety of students travelling by these buses.

Hence, timely upgradation of the school transportation fleet is of prime importance. Aging school buses can be repaired, refurbished, retrofitted or replaced to increase operational efficiency.

School authorities can choose the option best suited to them within the framework of their school policies and applicable rules of the local authorities.


Repairing school buses is the first option that is available to school authorities. Before they decide on any other option, it would be wise to check if the vehicle can be put to use for some more time after doing essential repairs.

These repairs can include both breakdown and preventive maintenance. In breakdown maintenance, repairs are confined to rectifying the specific defect to make the vehicle operational again.

In preventive maintenance, the worn out part or component is repaired or replaced before it is totally damaged. This includes routine oil change, and air filter replacements; as also replacement of tires, lamps and other such components.

Starting and stopping the school buses during their daily trips cause frequent mechanical failures as the school bus ages. Frequent repairs cause the buses to remain out of operation very often.

Replacements for some of the faulty parts are hard to obtain as the model becomes outdated. Delay in procuring the replacement parts will result in an increase in repair time.

At times, the cost of replacement parts can be prohibitively high making this option unfeasible.

Hence it is suggested that major repair of aging school buses be taken up only if the school authorities face operational or fund restrictions when considering other more expensive options.


Refurbishment of aging school buses means restoring the bus to its original condition and manufacturer’s standards. Performance specifications stated by the manufacturer should always be adhered to.

Refurbishment involves replacement and service of the existing body parts of the vehicle. Damaged mechanical parts are replaced, and cleaning, servicing and lubrication of parts are carried out.

The components are then tested for smooth operation and necessary adjustments are made. The seats and upholstery are refurbished. Painting of the vehicle is also done.

The advantage of this option is cost saving. Refurbishment can be done over a period of time thus deferring one-time expenditure. Refurbishment is a cheaper option when compared to the cost of a new bus.

This option has disadvantages as it is solely based on the age of the bus. Access to original performance manuals and spare parts will be severely limited.

Some of the parts may be unavailable due to non-production. The high costs of major components are a deterrent to refurbishing aging vehicles.

However, the age of the bus and degree of wear and tear are factors that influence the refurbishment decision. The cost of extending the life of the bus should be compared with the returns that can be generated from school bus operations to ascertain the viability of a refurbishment option.



Retrofitting is an option that can be used to upgrade the school buses that are in a fairly good working condition and can be used for some more time.

It involves the replacement of some of the school bus parts with new and modern components. While retrofitting the buses with new technology devices, compliance with the current governmental regulations needs to be ensured.

This is done to match the performance of the bus with those that have the most recent specifications.This helps to make day-to-day operations easy.

In a mechanical retrofit, for example, a diesel engine of the aging bus may be replaced with the more recent emission-controlled version. This would reduce pollution and control emissions.

Most of the old buses would have to have air-conditioners installed due to changing climatic conditions. Child security features like higher seats, individual seat belts, stop arms and crossing gates are some of the improvements done in a retrofit.

In a technology retrofit, GPS and RFID, video cameras and music systems are added. These gadgets are of great help to both parents and school in monitoring student attendance and behaviour of students in the bus.

Retrofit enhances the safety of the school bus and increases operational efficiency. It will be cheaper to retrofit than to buy a new bus with all the latest features.

Retrofit, though a more expensive option can turn out to be cost-effective in the longer run. The choice is entirely dependent on the age of the bus. It would be wise to weigh all factors and then decide whether it would be worthwhile to spend this extra amount on an already old school bus.


Replacement of an aging bus with a new one is suggested when the school bus has outlived its life. The operational expense of an old bus is always higher than that of a new bus.

When the repair, refurbish and retrofit options are no longer feasible, it is better to replace the aging bus with a new one.

Before embarking on buying a replacement, it would be advisable to assess the current need of the school and the existing governmental regulations.

For example, procuring a big or small bus would depend on the number of students using the bus and the route that it has to service. New features can save a lot of labor for the authorities.

Latest models use less energy and are fuel efficient. Hence, they cost less to operate. Students’ safety aspect is an essential factor to be considered.

Above all, it should ensure that the cost of the new replacement vehicle is justified by a guaranteed return on the investment.


Repair, refurbishment, retrofitting or replacement decision is mainly taken to upgrade the aging school bus fleet. There is no exact vehicle age when the buses can be modified or replaced.

It differs and depends on the wear and tear for each individual bus. All options are based on spending money to save money in the long run.

The decision to adopt any one of these choices should be based on the benefits derived in terms of improved student safety, operating cost efficiency and other environmental factors.

5 Top School Bus Tracking Software Providers Every Parent Must Know

Child safety and security is a major cause of anxiety for parents in these times.

Parents start worrying as soon as the child leaves home for school.

Whether the bus was on time, did their ward board the bus, did the child reach the school safely, and when the student was dropped back are matters of daily concern. This can be solved with school bus tracking software.

The school authorities are responsible for the child safety to and from schools.  

It is definitely a daunting task with increasing numbers of students, buses and routes.

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The degree of alertness and follow up by personnel at different levels vary, often leading to lapses in the process.

Now technology is helping out in this matter to a great extent.

There are many software applications designed to ease daily activities in almost all spheres of life.

In the school scenario, the most relevant and important one seems to be a specialized tracking system for school buses. 

Most software packages have a web-based app for the school authorities and a mobile app for parents, drivers and students.

Now here we are showcasing 5 top school bus tracking software providers

1: TrackSchoolBus

This is an excellent software platform designed for all associated with the child – parents, school administration, drivers and transport managers.

With this, concerned people can track attendance of the location of  bus, and pick up and drop off timings.  

Parents have the option to change the pick-up and drop off points for their ward(s) with intimations to the driver and school.

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The parent can also apply for leave if the child is sick through this app.

Both the driver and administration are informed. The route can be changed if necessary for drivers to reduce running time.

The school authorities have access to details regarding the driver, route, time spent on the road, list of students present on the bus thus enabling them to put their fleet to optimal use.

Transport managers can plan routes and trips, track every bus and communicate with drivers.

Accidents and traffic congestions along the routes can be viewed and conveyed to both parents and drivers.

With this, transport managers do not have to perform school bus routing, optimization and allocation manually because the system does it automatically as our system is AI in-built. 

2: BusWhere

Considered very easy to use and a reliable for parents, the app tells us ‘where’ the bus is located currently.

The bus routes can be viewed on an interactive map.

Parents are notified when the bus is going to reach the stop. They get a minute by minute update on expected arrival time. 

It tracks the location of the different buses on the specified routes, the time of arrival and departure from each stop, deviation in route due to traffic delays, expected arrival time at each of the designated stops. 

This is of immense help to school administrators.  

They have an easy access to information of the buses in their fleet mainly the routes, present location, speed and fuel levels.

With this, if any delay in school bus timing, parents can be notified via messages. 

An additional feature of this is that the previous history of the bus can be obtained.

Details thus logged can be downloaded for further analysis too. 

3: School Bus Tracker

School bus tracker offers real-time location of buses to both parents and school authorities. 

Location of the buses, time of arrival and departure and route changes are monitored.

If any delay, direct messages are sent to parents and the information is also relayed to school authorities.

With this, parents can request for route change.  

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The driver can also be notified directly by the parent if the child is sick.

This enables him to change the route accordingly.

Though widely used, this does not monitor the child’s attendance on and off the bus as it does not have RFID.

4: Here comes the bus

Being a bus location sharing platform, it provides the parents and school administration with the exact location of the bus.

The parents can view the scheduled and actual time of student arrival at both home and school.

In case where the bus is delayed, email alerts are sent to parents. 

This is a device to track whether the student got on and off the bus.

It will indicate the bus-stop too. ID cards are scanned by students while boarding and exiting the bus. This will provide details of student attendance.

In conjunction with the GPS device, the location is pinpointed and the school as well as the parents is notified if students have alighted at the wrong stop.

5: Applane Real-Time Bus Tracking System

This system is a powerful software for parents to track their child’s bus route, location and timings of departure and arrival.

It offers an option wherein the child can be dropped to the next bus stop in case they fail to drop the child off at the usual one.

Parents are notified of route changes due to delays. They are also informed of any emergency situations or breakdowns.

RFID integration helps in monitoring attendance. An additional feature is the CCTV installed which keeps an eye on both students and drivers.

Unlike others, this can be accessed on mobile devices by the school authorities making it possible to manage their entire fleet anywhere anytime.


These software applications make the school bus fleet management an easy task.

Managed well within the parameters of privacy and security terms, this can be a boon to all.

Both the parents and school authorities can stay updated about the whereabouts of their wards. These providers help to enhance child safety.

Common Risks in Fleet Management


School bus fleet management is an important part of the functioning of a school, just like its other aspects. Most schools have a fleet manager to take care of the school bus fleet. He also plans and assigns school bus routes. Though the job sounds easy, it really isn’t. There are many risks that come along with it, landing the fleet managers and school authorities in deep trouble.

Here is a list of such risks that accompany fleet management:

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RFID Helps Improve Fleet Efficiency and Productivity

  • Huge financial loss 

It is really expensive to buy a brand new school bus. Hence, there will be a huge financial loss, if the school bus meets with an accident or breakdown. It will have the same effect if a school bus is stolen. You need to spend a huge amount of money for repairs and maintenance of school bus.

  • Paying worker’s compensation

If the driver gets injured while performing his duty, school management is responsible to pay worker's compensation claims at the right time without much delay. Otherwise, it may lead to the bad reputation of the school. 

  • School having to face the court if any other person is injured

There will be so many legal formalities once you are trapped in accident cases. In the case of school bus accidents, the complete responsibility will be on the school authority. They will have to face all the consequences as per the court orders.

  • Risk of school’s reputation stooping low 

There will be so many complaints against the school management once it gets involved in any accident cases. Often people claim the authority for mismanagement of the school bus fleet and not seriously considering about school bus safety.

  • Risk of losing money 

Due to improper behavior from driver, school management needs to spend quite a large amount of money as compensation. This is an unnecessary expense for school authorities.

  • What can be done?

There are a few steps that can be taken to escape the risks related to school bus fleet management. Those who manage the school bus fleet must give attention to every set of risk related to every school bus and take proper measures to manage them.

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The Role of Software in Preventive Maintenance of Your School Bus

  • But how to do that remains a question.

You have to integrate technology to your school bus fleet management to manage these risks to the maximum. The best solution is School Bus Tracking Software.

Integrated with GPS technology, the School Bus Tracking Software provides you with a whole lot of advantages.

Majority of schools have to incur a financial loss due to unsafe driving practices. With the help of School Bus Tracking Software, you can track the performance of school bus drivers. The software can keep you informed about instances of over speeding, unscheduled bus stops etc., apart from the location of the school bus.

Sometimes, drivers may misuse school buses for unnecessary driving. Since School Bus Tracking Software has GPS integrated into it, you can easily track the school bus location and avoid such circumstances.

In case of a vehicle breakdown, you can get notified at the earliest with the help of the software. This can help you to provide assistance within a short amount of time.

School bus fleet management is one of the risky businesses to handle. People often criticize school authorities even though it is not their fault. All you can do is to be aware of the above mentioned risks and handle it wisely.  Providing a comprehensive driver training can be a great idea for efficient school bus fleet management. Also, keep in mind that student safety is all that matters.