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requiring school bus drivers to ensure that no students, sleeping or otherwise, are left alone on the bus at the conclusion or routes. Now, Daigle reported that the primary objective of using telematics is to track the exact location of each bus and to calcu- late arrival time. It also monitors idle time and fuel consumption, as well as the use of the Child Check-Mate. Synovia GPS is the choice for School District 13 in Colora-


do Springs, Colorado. Transportation Director Chad Barksdale said that all 70 school buses are equipped with the system. With Synovia, the district was given the option to pay for the solution over a five-year period, with the equipment lease renewable after that time. Te district pays a monthly fee, including an upcharge for spreading the payments out, but Barksdale said the cost fits nicely within the transportation budget, adding that the GPS system saves money for the district in the long run. It is also used for mapping routes, indicating when bus doors open and close and for tracking the idle time of each bus. “Te biggest advantages are that our system tells where the


buses are, are they on time, and that we can use it for tracking idle time,” Barksdale said. By reducing idle time, he added that the system pays for itself


by helping the district save on fuel costs. Te system sends an excess idling report, then the idle times are discussed with drivers. Te Synovia system carries only a 30-second time delay on all information, which is transmitted to the dispatcher via email. Todd Duncan, assistant director for transportation for Washoe


County School District in Reno, Nevada, assists in overseeing 320 buses that transport 19,000 students. Zonar GPS is used throughout the department’s fleet. Among its many uses, the system issues speed reports, and idle reports. Te Zonar GPS captures history every 30 seconds on a refresh


screen. Washoe County Schools has three site facilities with shops and maintenance at each. A centralized area functions for central dispatch, routers and training staff. On the initial purchase, Zonar supplied all the hardware,


which was installed by a third party provider. Te service charge for this large fleet is $100,000 per year and is funded through the district’s general fund operating budget. “Keeping our students safe is the name of the game,” Duncan said. “Use of telematics in the newer buses increases safety and contributes to the safety of the drivers and students.” Implemented in 2008, telematics reduces fuel costs and reduces


idling for Nevada’s second largest district. A vehicle’s computer communicates with fleet maintenance spotting fault codes and offering much savings to the district. Washoe County also uses Zonar Z Pass in conjunction with Child Check-Mate to scan student RFID cards to ensure no students are left behind at the end of a route. Zonar EVIR is also used as a hand held device for pre-trip inspections. Versatrans Onscreen interfaces with Zonar and enables


dispatchers to monitor each bus and ensure none go off-route. Information retrieved can assist in answering parent questions, monitor speeding and provide good customer service, added Duncan. 


44 School Transportation News • APRIL 2016


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