The Top Benefits of Adding Technology To Your Bus Fleet
There’s a lot of buzz about the future of buses, from all-electric fleets to self-driving vehicles. But that’s no reason to overlook the technology that’s available to upgrade your buses right now. Customize your vehicles so that you can reap the top benefits of adding technology to your bus fleet.
There’s just one driver on board a bus, and that person has the task of keeping everyone safe: passengers, pedestrians, commuters in traffic, and even the bus itself. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, and technological advancements aim to make their jobs easier. Some of this new tech includes:
These systems can serve both as a deterrent and documentation of troubling behavior on the bus, especially where students are concerned. Drivers can’t see everything, and when they do, they have to pull the bus over to address any issues. But with more cameras, you’ll have video and audio of what’s going on during a route from different angles.
With this technology, you’ll have a record of any bullying and vandalism, as well as driving violations or unsafe conditions. These cameras have playback software that can blur faces for privacy. The video can even synchronize with telematics data. You can automatically download the on-board security footage or livestream it to supervisors.
More video views and mirror angles help, but blind-spot detection systems specifically target blind spots to prevent collisions during left turns. The in-cab monitor can display a high-resolution view of what’s outside the bus, exactly when and where the driver needs it.
Many accidents occur as passengers are getting on and off a bus or pedestrians are lingering in dangerous spots nearby. But these monitoring systems take the blind spot concept further with a real-time 360-degree view around the entire vehicle. It’s most useful when drivers have to decide when and how to pull away from a stop.
Predictive Stop Arms
School bus drivers depend on the extending stop sign to warn drivers to halt until students are safely on or off the bus. It’s an effective tool, but there are still too many other drivers confused over what lanes the law applies to—or who speed up to try to pass the bus instead. Recent technology uses radar and predictive analytics technology to analyze oncoming traffic and gauge when a car is likely to make a stop arm violation.
Live Fleet Tracking
With the help of GPS tracking features, supervisors and interested parties can monitor buses in real time. This means that users can see a map-based position of every bus—and parents can see where their children are on their bus route. Alerts go off if the bus travels off its approved path, and any mechanical problems are detectable immediately.
“Smart” Dash Cams
Supervisors can keep drivers on their toes with information about speed limits, tailgating, stopping at stop signs, lane drifting, and more. Drivers can also self-correct with dashboard or video-based scorecards. One feature particularly helpful—drivers can also get help from monitors who aren’t on the bus but may have information the driver doesn’t. They can get verbal “coaching” to prevent and mitigate accidents.
One of the biggest safety concerns lately has been proper sanitization routines on buses between routes. But a powerful air purification unit like the O2 Safe Technology Defender can sanitize the air even while passengers are on board. It works separately from the HVAC system by circulating the air through four stages of filtration, UVC light, and bipolar ionization to kill pathogens such as viruses. Passengers will simply notice a cleaner scent in the air.
Fleet managers will be hearing the word “telematics” quite a lot. This technology gathers data on vehicle use, automotive servicing, and maintenance requirements and can transmit it instantly. It’s kind of a “black box” technology that you can use to analyze things like idling, driver service, and route algorithms. It’s enough to strategize more efficient ways of doing things, even if it’s minor tweaks that add up in larger fleets. Fleet management software is a branch of telematics that can help you oversee your entire fleet’s productivity at once—and with thorough, accurate data. It can be an effective way to reduce operating costs and make your operation more efficient.
Stay in Compliance
Keeping records for a fleet of buses isn’t easy, especially if you depend on paper inspection forms that could disappear with a stiff breeze. Performing these inspections isn’t optimal if the driver has to juggle a clipboard, pen, and more. But now, drivers can perform electronic inspections through their mobile device with one hand, freeing up the other to check assets. With the touch of a button, drivers can send the information immediately to managers in an organized way. Then they can promptly address any maintenance issues or other problems with minimal route disruption.
Equipping buses with Wi-Fi improves the passenger experience across the board so that people can use their commute more efficiently. But it’s a real game-changer on school buses. Students take buses every day on their way to school, activities, and back home, which decreases the time they have to spend on homework. Now kids can count on bus time to squeeze in more studying and finish assignments.
In the past year, school districts have learned more about students who don’t have internet access at home. With remote learning, a lack of access can profoundly affect someone’s education. School buses with Wi-Fi were able to be there for their communities by parking in low-income areas and acting as “hot spots” for students to connect to Zoom classes. It’s not a perfect solution, but these buses were a lifeline at a difficult time for students.
There are many more potential benefits of adding technology to your bus fleet that we haven’t even discovered yet. With the right equipment, your buses will be ready for lifestyle changes and even aid in emergencies. If you’re looking for a coach bus, school bus, or shuttle bus for sale, talk with us at National Bus Sales, Inc., about how we can customize it for your needs. We’ve been helping drivers find the right transportation for more than 30 years and can deliver your perfect vehicle to you anywhere in the country. Take a look at our inventory or give us a call for more information.