School Busing Issues and Tips
BACK TO SCHOOL BOOK FAIR
CUSTOMER RELATIONS AT THE BOOK FAIR
Well it came slow but it went quick. Yes it's that time again. Back to school we go.
My walk though this wonderful quadrupled sponsored event was fantastic. Everyone there seemed to be very excited and the volunteers did a wonderful job at the Book Fair assisting families not just with books and school supplies, but helping them locate any other departments necessary to assist with some of their other back to school needs and concerns.
The Book Fair was held on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at one of the (Workforce Development) sites located on the West side of Indianapolis off 34th & Lafayette Road. And was sponsored by mhs which is a Indiana Medical insurance provider, MDwise, Anthem, an WorkOne.
GREAT customer service.
TATTOOING ADVERTISED AT BOOK FAIR
BUS DRIVERS START YOUR ENGINES
KEEP THAT BUS CLEAN INSIDE AND OUT
GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE & SAFETY STARTS AT THE TOP
The following photo of the school buses parked in their appropriate stalls is just to show you where the concern for our children begins. It starts at the top of the chain. This is a great representation of the company that I'm employed with. Each bus has an electrical outlet installed inside those white poles that you see situated to the side of each bus. During the cold season we the driver of our assigned buses that are numbered, are responsible for making sure at the end of the day that each bus is clean and plugged in before we call it a day. For our front nose buses and newer ones their is also an electrical outlet directly in front of each bus because every year we are shipped anywhere from 10-20 new buses that require being plugged in up front.
For our protection, (the Drivers,) each stall is well lit for those really dark mornings where visibility is almost impossible without this feature. Each driver also has an assigned parking spot that is numbered and located across or behind our assigned bus, and it was well thought out because there is enough space between your automobile and backing out the bus. So there is no way possible that you will have a backing accident because you can also spot any incoming traffic, therefore, making it possible to stop though our backing policy dictates that we blow our horns to warn others. And, the parking lot as you can see has no chuck holes and on snowy days our great guys the mechanics do an excellent job coming in early and removing the snow and putting down salt to prevent falls.
On those really icy days, our company believes in 2 hour delays and if traveling conditions are really bad, then the school board don't play around when it comes to requesting all school closings. So, I honestly have to say that the Township that I work for does demonstrate how much they care about safety.
My bus for the new school year is parked in this stall location I believe we have a total of 3 locations.
BUSES FROM THE 1900'S
BUS DRIVING COURTESY
Our role as good customer service providers and your understanding of your role as the customer.
I'm a school bus driver and have driven for the schools since 1999, therefore I have seen much, heard much and learned much as well.
One thing that I've learned is that we don't have to prove to our students who is in charge in a manner that could intimidate our young customers or place them on the opposing side of safe transportation. Just a simple introduction such as Hello to everyone and welcome back to school. For some of you if this is your very first time riding the school bus, not to worry I'm going to do my very best to get you back and forth to school and home safely. If you have any thing that you feel I need to know or questions my name is ------------. Customer reassurance that you care is a must. You get the picture?
But, that is not always how it's done. For some bus drivers wake up with an attitude, drive with an attitude and go to bed with an attitude. Those type of drivers don't stay around very long. As the old saying goes, "leave your problems at home." Beside these are children and some come from very disturbing backgrounds. The could be homeless, abused, and even if they come from a solid background when they see us the Bus Drivers they want to feel as though they are riding with someone they can trust and make them feel safe.
We are educators, role models and ongoing learners. So it is absolutely necessary to set a fine example for the young ones to follow.
I think what troubles me the most is when I hear a driver radio in to dispatch that a student just cursed them out and somebody better come get that child or else. Now come on. What you just did was aired that situation and caused brought on more conflict than you as a driver needed. Because now you customer is more agitated with you than ever.
You pull that bus over try to reason with the student helping to understand that driving your bus safe is of the utmost importance and seeing that everyone gets home on time is important and to please return to their seat if they are up out of the seat so that everyone can go home. Then you can call the parent later and express your concerns for their child or write the incident up the next day.
For many reasons I will not allow a student to provoke me. For one I always feel as though I have the upper hand anyway and that is with anybody so I choose to be a professional.
I will not throw safety to the wind. NO! I'm mentally turning down the volume inside my head because going toe to toe is not on my accommodations list. I'm going to get everyone home safe and deal with the problem the next day in written form. Case Closed!
The are times when you can pull that child aside and talk to them one on one. I have done that on several occasions. The next morning when it comes time to unload the bus I simply request that the child stay behind and be the last one off the bus so we can talk for a minute. I call that child by name because that is the respectful thing to do. The majority of the time the child remains on the bus because in reality most children want to avoid a write-up or suspension from school. We then calmly discuss the situation and I ask them if I was to give them the write-up and ask them to write themselves up what would they write down? Most say, nothing "I didn't do nothing" that's the popular phrase and a few own up to the unwanted behavior. Either way we move forward and mark that conversation as a warning for if it happens again so they are fully aware of the consequences.
EVERYONE HAS A ROLE IN TRANSPORTATION
Now for those of you that do not understand some of the negative busing issues that you might experience from time to time, like late arrivals, or students missing the bus. And my favorite standing at the bus stop waiting to discuss your issues in front of the rest of the children about issues you and your child might have with their bus driver.
As Ecclesiastes states - :There is a time and a place for everything"
Everyone in transportation has a role.
The Director of Transportation
He or She, meets weekly with school officials and board members to establish and maintain good transportation procedures and guidelines so that all students transportation needs are properly met.
The Assistant Director
Addresses all the complaints or issues, concerns from all corners. Schools, Parents, Drivers, Pedestrians or Concerned drivers making a formal complaint about an unsafe practice that they observed.
The Safety Manager
Is responsible for training all old and new drivers and is responsible for seeing that all drivers keep their necessary documents up to date and handles accidents. And area that our company did well the last school year in accident prevention.
The Special Needs Coordinator
Trains and assist all drivers with making sure that we all properly transport students with special needs.
They are there to support the drivers in any given situation that we may need assistance. Such as a student having a seizure or asthma attack or fights on the bus. They are there to advise you properly.
The Routing Department
Is responsible for mapping out the routes of which the driver will use for picking up systematically the students and assigns the route or run to the proper school for drop off and pick up. So, timing is of the utmost importance .
Their goal is to safely pick up children daily on time, according to schedule, with the least amount of distractions as possible.
I say the least amount because we do from time to time run into obstacles. Like being held up by a train. A serious accident blocking the normal route that you take which means that you have to take an alternate route. A student gets sick or injures themselves in the middle of your pick up or drop offs and you need to get your first aid kit out and dress the wound or call it in for emergency. Some parents don't take all that in to consideration their first line of offense is to get angry. So, the driver has to be ready to be the professional and simply apologize and move on possibly apologizing to everyone that is affected by you being late.
Well finally I will address parent complaints. If they have a complaint you just quickly and professionally instruct them as to how they are handled. Requesting that they contact the school in order to schedule a convenient time for both you and them to meet and work out the best solution to resolve their concerns. If they want to argue you state let's not do this in front of the children. I will help you and request that we meet for you if that works out for you. Then bid them a nice day, close the door and move forward. Then at the convenient time hopefully your customer has calmed down enough to speak with you with the Principal of the school the child attends to work out a solution.
A GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE ENDING
In closing, I would like to tell you about the only time that I ever became extremely distracted when driving my school bus and it was about 2 years ago.
I had volunteered to do some extra work during after school activities. The bus was loaded to the hilt. The majority of the children were up out of their seats, screaming, cursing and hitting. Now in the evenings you don't get much help from dispatch because most of the help has gone home. So I knew that I pretty much was going to be on my own. I had to pull the bus over at least twice but because the children thought they had sense enough to think that they could get away with that bad bus riding behavior because I was a substitute driver for that pm run, they tuned me out and pretty much told me to go sit down and drive the bus.
Now this is how unnerving that entire situation made me and it takes a lot to break my concentration but one of the streets that one of the students gave me to let them off at I recognized but for the life of me I could not focus on where it was. So, I dropped off all the other stops that were close by on the southside of town and then drove all the way to the east side to drop off the others. But I paid close attention to who was causing me the most distraction and even wrote down their description what they were wearing and where I dropped them off because you have to drop them off as close to home as possible.
It wasn't until the bus had only 5 students out of the 50 plus on board that I remembered where that street was and I knew then that those children had lessen my ability to give them all what they each deserved, A SAFE RIDE HOME though I did it. That street is one of the streets that I transported one of my own students on my assigned route to daily. But with all the commotion yelling I could not bring that picture to mind and had dropped off the first load in that area only to have to travel back. The little girl was so nice about it though she never said a word. I apologized to her and she said it's okay I wasn't ready to go home first anyway. Then we said goodnight and I drove off.
The entire ride all I could do was pray that I do my best because I haven't had an accident and did not want anything to happen to those children. YEAH! That prayer was answered all children were dropped off safe. But, I know me. I'm going to do what I have to do with all my strength and every bit of God's. But, if I thought it would have been dangerous for me to continue I would have requested someone to come help. The problem with that though is that I knew no one was available but the one and only Dispatcher had he left to come finish my route if an emergency would have arisen then he would have been on edge. So I do what I have to do to prevent a problem for another
Well, the next day I went to the school with my paper that I had wrote all my information on and gave it to the Assistant Principal and explained to him how nervous that ride made me but I was glad to get them all home safely. He said come with me to the gym and tell me if you see any of those students because unbeknownst to me, he had and idea who they were. So when I got there sure enough the majority of the problem makers were there. And he said that most of them were either on the girls basketball team or the boys. Then they started ratting the other students that were causing problems on the bus that evening out.
The Assistant Principal handled it, though I'm not sure what he did. But I'm a glutton for punishment. I decided a week later to volunteer once again for that same run and see for myself how the children would react and I didn't have anywhere near the problems that I had before and several of the children apologized. So not losing my cool, and just giving my best customer service worked out great.
Nice Story Huh.
MY QUIET PLACE TO BENCH MY TROUBLES
BENCH THOSE INAPPROPRIATE ATTITUDES
As I stated earlier work is not the place to work out your at home problems. How we treat one another counts when it comes to great customer service. So, if you're having a bad day or woke up with a bad day headache. Bench those attitudes. Just think about your quiet place where you at the end of the day can say I made it through another day.
This bench is located down the street from where I live and is one of the quiet spots at the Indianapolis Art Museum the place with great attractions. Come see. It's free, and the customer service is great.
Be professional and pass it on.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE SUMMER FUN
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
It's great to see parent getting involved with their children. Many parents are to be commended for the quality time that they give to rounding out their young ones. At many of the bus stops around Indy so many parents make a habit of being there to watch and protect their babies from some of the crazy’s out there snatching children.
I appreciate it when I say good morning to them and they say good morning in return and bid you a nice day.
Working side by side with the parents is great, because once they see your face often enough, then they start to feel comfortable and safe about placing their treasures in your hands. The children even start to feel at ease because for the moment you're nothing but a stranger. But still, for most, there is no place for them like home.