Chesapeake Public Schools

Customer Spotlight Chesapeake Public Schools

Supporting Chesapeake Public Schools is no small fleet.

The Chesapeake Public Schools district maintains and supervises a fleet of more than 580 school buses. This fleet travels more than 25,000 miles to transport more than 31,000 students to and from school each day. Dr. David Benson, Chesapeake Public Schools transportation director, relies on a number of solutions, including Zonar smart fleet technologies, to meet the daily rigors of running an operation of this size.

One of Benson’s most important resources? The Zonar Customer Experience team, which ensures that all of his systems function correctly.

Moving from outdated to modern smart fleet management

Before implementing modern smart fleet management solutions, Chesapeake Public Schools relied on outdated, cumbersome processes and systems.

  • Two-way radio communications instead of GPS tracking to know where buses were located
  • A time and attendance application that didn’t integrate into any school bus system
  • Paper-based, unverifiable pre- and post-trip inspections

Then, in 2016, Benson implemented Zonar smart fleet management solutions. The rewards were virtually immediate.

Detailed location and diagnostic data

Every bus in the district's fleet is outfitted with Zonar technology, including GPS tracking. Benson and his team now access detailed fleet data through the Zonar Ground Traffic Control secure web portal. Benson’s team now knows where every bus is located at any given time, which assists with responding to incoming calls from parents asking, "where's the bus?"

Benson and his department also now have access to engine diagnostic information, making it easier and more efficient to:

  • address maintenance issues in real time
  • identify excessive idling
  • monitor drivers’ speed
Electronically verified pre- and post-trip inspections

In moving to Zonar Electronic Verified Inspection Reporting (EVIR), Benson's drivers went from paper-based pre-trip inspections to electronically verified inspections. Paper-based inspections lead to lengthy paper trails and the possibility of occasional pencil whipping, which is filling out the record without performing the inspection.

Now Benson can access any EVIR record online to verify each bus is being properly inspected before it hits the road, and have all inspection data digitized for preventative maintenance.

One support contact for multiple moving parts

Upgrading nearly 600 school buses to a modern smart fleet management solution isn’t easy. Nor does it happen overnight.

For Benson, the key to success was streamlining the processes and working with a single member of the Zonar Customer Experience team, who understands his fleet on a personal level. With that single point of contact to rely on, Benson and his team were able to flag any challenges and potential missed opportunities, then work with that Zonar contact to quickly and efficiently handle it.

As Benson puts it, "With a fleet of 583 buses, having customer experience team support has been ideal. When the Zonar customer experience team goes the extra mile to address our needs there are no traffic jams along the way."

My Zonar Customer Experience representative knows our operation and acts as a one-person clearinghouse for dealing with purchasing, hardware and software upgrades and replacements, and all things customer service. He just took care of it. Made it easier than we thought.
Dr. David Benson, Chesapeake Public Schools transportation director

Technology solutions are not one size fits all. They have to work with all the moving parts of any fleet, especially ones as large as the Chesapeake City Schools fleet. Having a skilled Zonar customer experience manager at the helm gave Benson the confidence that concerns and opportunities would be addressed promptly.

Seamless, fleet-wide integration

Benson has smoothly upgraded his fleet's Samsung Tab Active2 tablets to prepare for the implementation of the district's Kronos app for capturing bus drivers' and bus assistants' time and attendance. This functional time and attendance app was the driving factor to the district acquiring the Zonar technology, which also provided Benson with the support he needed to push for the rest of his smart fleet management initiatives, which included tablet and EVIR upgrades.

When Benson upgraded from the Zonar Connect tablets to Samsung Tab Active2 tablets running Zonar software, it was quickly discovered that the new tablets required that the EVIR tags, which are placed at specific inspection zones on each school bus, be upgrade from RFID to NFC tags. The Zonar Customer Experience team flagged the need, then set appropriate expectations for the timing of shipments and for when Benson’s fleet would be back up and running with EVIR.

"Upgrades are inevitable," says Benson. "My Zonar Customer Experience representative knows our operation and acts as a one-person clearinghouse for dealing with purchasing, hardware and software upgrades and replacements, and all things customer service. He just took care of it. Made it easier than we thought."

Coming soon: stop-arm camera enforcement

The next smart fleet initiative on the horizon for Chesapeake Public Schools, in part due to the district's confidence in the Zonar best-in-class Customer Experience team, is outfitting every bus in the fleet with stop-arm cameras from BusPatrol, Zonar's partner. In line with the district's focus on student safety, this stop-arm camera technology will help safeguard riders as they get on and off the bus by holding stop-arm violators accountable.

BusPatrol will install and implement sideload, interior and rearview cameras with a ticket processing and program management. When violators pay their fines, those funds cover the entire cost of the stop-arm technology and program.

Ready for the road ahead

With the Zonar Customer Experience team working with Benson, Chesapeake Public Schools has integrated leading smart fleet management solutions from Zonar which will allow the use of the time and attendance app from Kronos. Plus, Benson has upgraded the fleet's paper-based inspection process to an electronically verified, reliable inspection system. Soon, the district will also deploy BusPatrol's stop-arm camera program to proactively mitigate risks that children face every day on busy Virginia roadways.

Together, these modern fleet solutions have delivered greater fleetwide efficiency, reliable data, healthier vehicles and bus location tracking. In other words, they’ve set the district and its fleet up for long-term success.

Zonar provides electronic fleet inspection, tracking and operations solutions for public and private fleets. Our products are effective, driven by customer satisfaction and affordable by design. We’ve made it our business to do right by our customers. You will notice the difference.


Chesapeake Public Schools


Public Education


Chesapeake, Virginia

  • More than 580 school buses
  • Fleet travels more than 25,000 miles each day
  • Transport more than 31,000 students each day

  • Zonar Ground Traffic Control®
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2
  • with Zonar Certified Plan
  • Electronic Verified Inspection Reporting (EVIR®)
  • Kronos®
  • BusPatrol
  • Dedicated customer experience manager
  • Seamless integration with third-party time & attendance software
  • GPS school bus tracking
  • Fewer parent phone calls
  • Detailed vehicle diagnostic data
  • Verified pre- and post-trip inspections