Whether you’ve been driving for years or have just learned how to become a bus driver, there’s one particular challenge you will face time and time again on the job: memorizing new routes.
Though turn-by-turn directions may be provided and you may ride along with another driver who is familiar with the route before tackling it alone, new routes are always doozies to deal with the first week or so, and they can pose many potential hangups for drivers of all experience levels. For example, taking the wrong road can lead to a bus having to drive miles off course to find a spot that is wide enough for it to safely turn around. You also probably will have some kind of directions with you, but you can’t spend all your time reading them, as you must keep your eyes on the road! Finally, there’s always enormous pressure to get your passengers to their location safely and efficiently, and when you might be unfamiliar with the area, this isn’t easy to do. It requires immense skill, a keen sense of direction, and the ability to think on your feet. It’s safe to say that, for all these reasons above, new routes can be considered one of the more challenging parts of working in school bus services.
Though we at American Student Transportation Services work hard to keep routes as consistent as we can as a courtesy to our drivers, road closures and weather hazards might require us to shift them now and again. Rest assured, though, that when you work with us, you’re in good hands and will be supported through any transition you are asked to make.
● Each one of our busses is equipped with a top-notch GPS system | These systems will quickly guide you back on track should a human error occur, and you happen to take a wrong turn. As a school bus contractor, we feel it is never okay to leave your employees in a position in which doing a good job seems unachievable. We want to provide you with all the resources possible to set you up for success on the job, and providing each bus with a GPS system is just one way we do this.
● Our responsive dispatch team is ready to help | Get yourself in a jam? We’re here to get you out. As we stated above, we’re big here on giving our workers what they need to succeed, and our caring and experienced dispatch team is likewise. No matter where you’re driving or who you’re carrying, help is just a radio away.
● Undergo training with us and learn the tricks of the trade | Driving a bus isn’t always easy, as any seasoned group transportation services worker will tell you! Luckily, when you take on paid training with American Student Transportation Services, you’ll learn all the skills you need to know to calmly and safely navigate almost any situation imaginable. When it comes to driving new routes, such know-how is both practical and quite the comfort.
If you’re a new driver at all worried about this facet of bus driving or somebody who is interested in becoming a bus driver, come chat with us and see what training and employment opportunities we can offer you. Just like our clients deserve quality student transportation services, you, as a bus driver, deserve the skills and resources you need to provide them.
In addition to working for a supportive company like us, to familiarize themselves with their routes, all drivers can:
● Scout the route ahead of time in your personal car | A quick jaunt around the route on your off-time can prove extremely beneficial to your on-the-job performance. By doing this, you’ll discover potential problem areas (such as tight turns or tricky lane changes) that you’ll know to prepare for in your larger vehicle.
● Read your route sheet or electronic directions over multiple times | Yes, before you even drive the route. As we said earlier, being a safe bus driver means driving with your eyes on the road, and you can’t watch traffic while staring at a map! While GPS systems are an immense help and can serve as great directional reminders, there still is something to be said for familiarizing oneself with your route before doing it for real.
● Use landmarks | Whether you’re familiarizing yourself with your route electronically or in real-time, it’s bound to be fraught with landmarks, be them as blatant as regal-looking park statues, or as inconspicuous as funny-looking trees. If you notice it, though, consider dubbing it a landmark you can use to find your way and feel more familiar with the new route you’re handling.
Contact American Student Transportation Services for Supportive Employment
We make all the hard parts of working in school bus services easy. Give our Blaine office a call now at 651-621-8900, and let’s talk about your vocational future.