busHive Streamlines Field Trips Across Southern California
Huntington Beach Union High School District, California
busHive’s field trip software is designed to effectively organize the workflows of an entire transportation operation. That’s one of the ways it makes life easier for Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) in Southern California and its partners in the area.
The district handles home-to-school transportation for 390 special needs students across its seven schools. It also provides field trip transportation for the City of Huntington Beach, the city’s Junior Lifeguard program and the county consortium, which includes other local school districts.
busHive’s industry-leading field trip software plans and manages online request forms, approval paths, workflow and more to successfully help schools handle what is normally a very complex, manual process. After more than 8,000 field trips handled through busHive’s system, there is a long list of benefits that have been observed by Jeff Hutchings, HBUHSD‘s manager of maintenance, operations and transportation.
Hutchings stated that busHive’s online system is infinitely better than the paper system his district previously had to deal with. He joked that the decision to go digital was made “after coming to the realization we were still in the Stone Ages.”
Before HBUHSD started using busHive in September of 2015, field trips were requested via paper forms. Changes were called or emailed in, which resulted in more confusion. And there would be days that a stack of orders would come in all at once, necessitating manual labor to sort through.
“We were looking at making things run in a more predictable manner,” Hutchings explained. He confirmed that better organization and accountability were huge benefits of the district’s switch.
Requiring teachers and coaches to use busHive prompts them to be timelier so Hutchings can predict the workload of his staff and bus drivers. Previously, requests would be faxed in for trips that same day. With all trip requests currently handled through busHive, there is a 14-day lead time policy, which is adjustable.
On the left-hand screen, field trip requests wait for approval in the busHive portal. On the right-hand screen, a change request has been emailed in.
busHive’s features have resulted in more transparency and improved communication, both throughout the district and with its clients. The system provides an essential record of requests and changes. Since they began using busHive’s system, the transportation department doesn’t miss trips anymore.
In addition, field trip requesters can see their schedule in busHive, which helps them with their planning. Changes and cancellations are tracked so if a dispute arises, Hutchings can pull up data to see where the change happened and who made it. This allows him to address issues like repeated last-minute requests with the person who keeps making them.
“I’m able to run an audit at any time on any trip and know what’s going on,” Hutchings explained. “It’s really helped our department.”
Better Department Management
busHive helps Hutchings keep his finger on the pulse of his department and provide better overall customer service, not only to the people requesting trips, but also to the students.
Once all trips are input into busHive, the drivers are allowed to bid on routes. Assignments are made and then any holes are filled. Drivers’ schedules are added into busHive to better plan their route assignments. The software will not allow drivers to be scheduled on overlapping routes or trips.
Billing is also handled through busHive, which has saved time and reduced costs. Secretaries can get billing done in a third of the time and get reports out to other districts and clients faster than before.
Additionally, Hutchings can now easily pull up records for anyone asking. It stopped the finger-pointing and helps the transportation department provide better service for the students. “Having to look through paper takes a while,” he laughed.
Last year, the district went to busHive’s cloud-based system in a quick, “seamless” transition.
“What I like about it is I’m able to go back and look at things,” Hutchings said of the cloud-based system. On a weekend or when working from home, he’s still able to keep track and stay updated on his operation’s needs, whether it’s late trip requests or drivers needed to cover trips. “It gives me peace of mind,” he added.
While searching for a better field trip system, Hutchings researched many companies, comparing features, cost, user-friendliness and adaptability. busHive fit all his parameters.
“They’ve even been able to do some things that I didn’t think they’d be able to do,” he praised. The district office requires reports a particular way and busHive was able to rewrite its programs to accommodate that request, all at a reasonable cost. “Customer service is excellent,” Hutchings said.
Hutchings looks forward to utilizing more features that busHive offers. In the coming year, HBUHSD is planning to use the busHive Maintenance Planning Software for parts and inventory management.