Keys to Success: Ensuring a Smooth School Startup

Each year, First Student helps over 1,100 school districts start the school year safely and successfully. That’s a lot of coordination – buses, drivers, maintenance, schedules, students, parents, districts and staff.  And they all need to be ready for that first day of school.  Which is why so many school districts rely on First Student.

Our vast experience, unmatched across the United States, has resulted in successful starts for so many school districts – crucial support we’ve provided since the 1913.

Top Challenges for School Districts

Three big challenges school districts face at school startup are related to routing, bus drivers and school buses.  School bus routing is more complex than many other kinds of routing.  District routes can be affected by a variety of factors including ongoing school enrollment and families moving addresses.  During the summer months, Districts experience higher turnover in Bus Drivers, which can impact startup.  Additionally, readying vehicles for service that have been sitting through the summer, as well as preparing new incoming vehicles for service, presents even more challenges for school startup.

The First Student Difference

Shutting down a large transportation system and starting it up three months later is a huge challenge. First Student does this over 1,100 times each year. We recognize the challenges of startup, including the planning and operations needed to prepare for it. All our operations complete a rigorous startup plan, addressing numerous items related to fleet, drivers, routes, facilities, communications and much more. Our First Planning Solutions group is dedicated to getting routes updated and ready for school start up. Engaging our drivers all summer long is a rule that First Student lives by.  We also never stop recruiting and training new drivers, and our operations are supported by a central team of recruiting professionals. First Student hosts recruiting events throughout the country to support our locations and partners. At First Student, we leverage technology for communications, dispatch operations, maintenance, fleet telematics and routing.

Keys to Success

A major key to school startup success for any school district is having a dependable routing solution.  At First Student, we have a dedicated routing group, First Planning Solutions, that supports our operations and our customers as they're getting ready for startup. Another critical key to startup success is ensuring there are sufficient drivers to transport students to and from school.  Consistent engagement with current drivers and continuously recruiting new drivers contributes to a smoother school startup. Lastly, a district’s success at school startup will depend on buses being operationally ready. First Student implements a rigorous preventative maintenance program to ensure our school district partners are successful at startup.

If you’d like to learn more about partnering with First Student, click here. Meanwhile, here are a few handy tips for an A+ school startup- from the team that knows how to get it done.

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