and we can’t find a driver or a bus, we turn to one of our pre-cleared coach companies. In July and August, I review company records of the charter bus companies in our area. I look at their DOT ratings, maintenance records, and get a copy of their insurance policy on which Bay Shore School District is named as an additional insured on their insurance policy.”

Gallagher explained that New York state law mandates an insurance policy for all instances of students riding school buses. All school bus drivers, including those on field trips, are certified with an Article 19-A school bus driver license. Motorcoach drivers don’t need the 19-A certification, but Gallagher added that they still must be qualified under medical exam and fingerprint requirements.

As far as the driver’s abstract is concerned,

Gallagher stated that it is each district’s responsibility to ensure the drivers are qual- ified. Just before the trip, a coach company is required to send the driver’s abstract to the school district for review and make sure that they meet the requirements. Te issues Gallagher said he has encoun-

tered regarding directions are that some- times a driver decides to take a different route, either thinking that they know better, or they listen to a recommendation from a coach or chaperone. “Ten they get to a spot where they don’t fit under a bridge. In general, we don’t have too many problems with our trips, with our written directions,” Gallagher said. “New York state is going to require verbal directions, or, if you have a tablet, that it has to go black.” Bayshore School District recently started beta-testing the new Wayfinder app from Transfinder. Antonio Civitella, president and CEO of Transfinder, said he is excited about the level of safety and reliability that the solu- tion promises. “We just released Wayfinder to a select

group of clients. Tey can use the app, which is free for Transfinder clients, with their existing tablets, both mounted or portable, or on their smartphones,” he explained. “Te Wayfinder has many functionalities, includ- ing Trackme and Routebuilder, and complies with local regulations, as the driver cannot interact with the tablet while the vehicle is moving, since it goes dark and gives audible directions.” Navigation on field trips can be diffi- cult for many reasons, and Civitella said Transfinder’s Trackme function can provide GPS for those buses that don’t already have it, while the Routebuilder function allows routes to be built during the trip. “For substitute drivers on routes, or field and athletic trips, this app can build a route so future drivers have the exact directions the next time students are going to those frequent field trip destinations or athletic venues,” Civitella added. “If the driver misses a turn or has to detour around an accident, there are voice-guided directions to get them back where they’re supposed to be. Routebuilder also significantly reduces the time it takes route coordinators to build routes, and since it creates them as the driver is driving it, the route is very accurate.” 

30 School Transportation News • JULY 2018

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