South Portland School Department, South Portland, ME

South Portland School Department in South Portland, ME Utilizes Transfinder’s Robust Routing and Scheduling Solutions to Streamline Information Throughout the District.

Situation

Lisa Gadway is the transportation director for the district and joined the South Portland School Department about three years ago.  The district was using Transfinder’s Routefinder Pro software when Lisa joined South Portland, however it was not being used to its potential. Routefinder Pro is a robust routing and scheduling software program with extensive reporting capabilities that has the ability to help school districts complete state reports in minutes and streamline information throughout the district. It gives administrators and personnel access to up-to-date information on student transportation. 

Lisa had used Transfinder at her previous district, and was committed to further implementing the software at South Portland, so they could take full advantage of its benefits. Lisa attended Transfinder University to advance her training and she brought her assistant with her, so she could better learn its functionality, and they could work together to improve the use of Routefinder Pro. 

Solution/Benefits Since Implementing Transfinder

The Streamlined Information: The district uses Infinite Campus for their student information system.  Data from Infinite Campus is downloaded daily to Routefinder Pro, updating student information that has changed from the previous day.  Transportation schedules affected by student updates are available within minutes, so parents can be informed immediately. 

Field Trips: The district was using a field trip program, but the communication portion was not meeting the district’s needs.  Lisa implemented Transfinder’s Tripfinder software to improve communication and the process for field trip approvals.  Lisa rolled out the software across the district within a month, and trained personnel and administration on how to use it with a simple how-to document.  This school year the business manager is looking forward to learning the billing and invoicing functionality of the software and taking advantage of its benefits. 

Bell Time Adjustments: The district planned new bell times for the 2017-18 school year, but left little time to rearrange their routes to accommodate for the new start times.  Using Routefinder Pro Lisa could easily see what made sense time wise for her buses, and very quickly make adjustments and consolidate stops from what she could see on the map.  ”Without Transfinder, I probably wouldn’t be here right now”… as bell time changes are an extensive project that most would rather not take on, and often results in unhappy parents due to the changes in their child’s transportation. 

Communication: Lisa rolled out the Infofinder i web-based service to the school secretaries in the 2016-17 school year, so they could look up student bus information helping to answer parent phone calls.  The secretaries found it extremely helpful and easy to use, so after its pilot year Lisa made 

Infofinder i available on the school’s website.  Parents could then look up their child’s information from any computer or mobile device, and its timing was perfect for school opening with new bell times, and changes to student schedules.  The results of Infofinder i were outstanding and the transportation department was not as inundated as they expected with parent phone calls, and made for a very smooth school opening. 

Fleet Maintenance: The district has implemented Servicefinder to help manage its fleet and preventative maintenance.  Its’ success has allowed them to extend its use to neighboring district Portland School District.  Portland School District has access to login to the software and see the scheduled maintenance and information related to their fleet, making the shared service very transparent.  In addition, the billing process is streamlined with automatic invoices emailed on the 15th of every month, and hassle free. 

Information Technology: Routefinder Pro offers robust reporting capabilities, as the software contains extensive information related to students and transportation.  The school district’s principals asked Lisa if they could get specific information on their student’s bus schedules and in a format helpful to them. Lisa worked with the districts IT Director, and learned how to extract just the information they needed and in the format they wanted.  In addition, the information is scheduled to be automatically sent to them on a recurring basis, so they always have the most up-to-date information on hand. 

Technical Support: “The team at Transfinder has been great to work with”!  Lisa has had a great experience with the support at Transfinder, and built relationships with the team members she counts on.  She quickly has someone to talk to, and they very quickly work out fixes to her technical issues.