Central Kitsap School District

Customer Spotlight Central Kitsap School District

New fleet tech shows this district’s dedication to its communities, families and drivers.

Central Kitsap School District (CKSD) is dedicated to safeguarding students, serving its communities, and maintaining a driver-centric fleet. Located west of Seattle, Washington, CKSD serves 19 schools throughout unincorporated portions of the county. The district’s 100 buses transport 8,000 student riders more than 1.2 million miles each year.

When it came time for a telematics provider, the district wanted to elevate its operation to attract bus drivers and increase efficiencies. CKSD Director of Logistics and Operations Kyle Johnson says, “We wanted to invest in technology and demonstrate our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students and staff.”

That meant solving for more than efficiency.

  • Digitize its inefficient, paper-based routing system.
  • Make bus routes easy to see, change and manage.
  • Ensure accurate guaranteed driver hours and pay.
  • Reinforce the district’s supportive, employee-centric culture.

Lead Bus Drivers Jennifer Prouse and Cora Smith understand the importance of the district’s relationship with its communities. “We value our connection as a team united in serving students,” they explain. “Here at Central Kitsap, we’re always looking for new ways to improve.”

CKSD saw Zonar smart fleet management and mobility solutions as the potential path to serve them, and its drivers, better.

Off to a deliberate start.

CKSD took a deliberate approach to rollout, piloting five buses over 60 days, each outfitted with Zonar Ground Traffic Control, the Zonar V4 TCU, and Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2. The Zonar team personally installed all the equipment, as they always do, and provided thorough training sessions so CKSD staff had clear understanding of the solution.

Zonar assisted CKSD with its application for the Don Carnahan Memorial Grant, which helped the district win $35,000 for fleet management hardware. According to Johnson, winning these funds “was an essential factor in us being able to move forward with the tablet purchase.” By providing tablets, CKSD enabled drivers to perform their best, more easily—especially when it came to running routes.

CKSD was so satisfied with the pilot that it installed Zonar OnRoute, OnRoute Record, Zonar Access and EVIR Mobile on each tablet.

“The Zonar team consistently does an outstanding job responding to our questions and feedback,” Prouse says.

Farewell printed routes. Hello digital ease.

Before having Zonar tablets, drivers hopped behind the wheel with a stack of printed routes and stops.

Substitute drivers had an especially tough time navigating unfamiliar routes. Until they memorized their route, they literally had a stack of papers under their leg.

They would do a stop, make sure the kids were safe, then pull out the stack to check for the next stop, then put the printed routes away until it was safe to review them again.

The goal will be for drivers to look at their tablet to see their next stop as well as the entire route. They can also assign trips, select vehicles, see their schedule, pick up runs or stops on-the-fly, make vehicle substitutions, and skip stops. All on their Zonar tablet.

It feels like school bus technology is finally moving into the twenty-first century.
Jennifer Prouse, Lead Bus Driver, CKSD

When routes were printed, drivers juggled printouts with student activity and traffic. With digital routes, Smith says, “Your attention is always where it needs to be.”

GPS data instantly exonerates drivers.

CKSD’s dedication to serving its communities includes investigating concerns and complaints. Tracking buses through Ground Traffic Control enables the transportation team to support callers and drivers with clear, objective vehicle data.

  • Respond to inquiries with facts.
  • Confirm bus locations and times.
  • Exonerate drivers from misunderstandings.
  • Strengthen driver-centric culture.
  • Attract and retain more talent.

See where each bus is and was.
According to Johnson, “Like any public organization, we get a lot of calls from parents asking about the location of the bus.” Sometimes, parents believe the school bus bypassed their house.

“With [Zonar] GPS on our buses,” Smith says. “We can see exactly where the bus is, or was.” Much of the time, the data exonerates drivers by showing that the bus stopped where, and when, it should have.

See which buses traveled through where.
Other times, parents call about an incident, such as a speeding bus or one allegedly causing damage. To investigate, CKSD creates a geofence within Zonar Maps (in Ground Traffic Control) to determine which buses—if any—were traveling in a specific area. Again, drivers are often exonerated because the GPS data shows they weren’t in the area.

More drivers choose CKSD.

Drivers who feel supported are more likely to stay. Using Zonar smart fleet management and mobility solutions, the district demonstrates its commitment to its promise of an employee-centered culture.

The results have been stronger driver retention and recruitment rates.

We use it as a tool to grow and advocate for our team. It represents how we prioritize the safety of our students and staff.
Kyle Johnson, Director of Logistics and Operations, CKSD

Support is more than tech help.

Prouse and Smith share how Zonar customer support goes above and beyond. “Zonar has always been very responsive. We speak to them the most, and the tech support is super-reliable and consistent. The amount of communication and emails and phone calls we engage in shows how involved Zonar is with us.”

Parent bus tracking is in the plans.

CKSD plans to roll out Zonar MyView, hich empowers parents to track their child’s bus with an easy-to-use app. And enables dispatchers to push changes, updates and messages to the parent app for clear, timely communication.

Not long ago, MyView was considered a luxury. Now it’s seen as essential. Parents will have less reason to call. And the CKSD transportation team will be better able to keep them updated about route changes, stop changes and substitutions.

Throughout our partnership, we’ve seen that Zonar has our interests at heart. And it’s not just a commercial interest. It’s important for us to just to run our operation, care for kids, and care for our team. We can improve their experience by growing our relationship with Zonar
Jennifer Prouse and Cora Smith