Proper Maintenance Protocol for Bus Fleets
When it comes to the proper maintenance of bus fleets, there are a few things to consider. To cover proper maintenance as you manage the fleet, there are three aspects to consider: preventive maintenance (this includes school bus parts and service such as replacing tires, belts, etc.), proactive maintenance (this may include school bus parts and service, but is generally relegated to just service such as tire maintenance, oil changes, etc.), and people maintenance (proper education about who is riding the bus as well as proper education for those driving the buses).
Bus fleets can be complicated if not run properly. For example, some buses will cater towards students and have students with special needs (approximately 25% of buses transfer students with special needs), others will be heavy duty transit buses or hotel shuttle vans, and of course, there is always the limo buses for luxury.
While the type of bus you have might differ, the maintenance routine should still be the same. Here are some of the best practices for proper bus maintenance:
Preventive and Proactive Bus Maintenance:
When it comes to preventive bus maintenance, there are a few things to consider. Generally, this will school bus parts and service. For example, routinely changing the tires, replacing belts and fans, and getting brakes checked and replaced all constitute routine maintenance that must be done. Failure to stay on top of this type of maintenance is dangerous both to passengers of the bus and others on the road. Remember, a bus is kind of like a tank on the road. They are big vehicles that require a lot of attention and care. If something happens due to neglected maintenance, it usually results in big accidents. In addition to making the bus safe to drive, preventive maintenance will prolong the life of the bus and keep it running reliably, saving you significant money.
Proactive maintenance can also be grouped in here as it has a lot to do with school bus parts and service. Get a regular cleaning schedule for the interior and exterior of the bus. This will help identify problems as you are regularly inspecting and cleaning the vehicle. Be sure to have some maintenance routine checks such as tire pressure, fuel cap verification, and inspecting the body of the bus for damage. When it comes to mechanical attention, be sure to check the oil level, brake fluid level, transmission fluid, coolant, washer fluid, and (if applicable) diesel additive.
When it comes to a fleet of buses, managing the people is probably the most important thing to keeping the buses well maintained. Each driver should be trained in how to perform a basic inspection each morning and evening (at the start and end of their shift) and recognize and report any potential problems that come up. This should include a basic walk around to check for obvious problems (such as a flat or leaking tire), lose windows or doors, and other visual issues.
It is important here to go beyond the bare minimum. Exceed all safety and maintenance standards and protocol. Only hire the best to drive your vehicles and be sure they are incentive to keep their buses looking and performing in top condition. Additionally, when issues do come up, make sure they are addressed as soon as possible. We understand that pulling a bus off the road means changes in schedules and potentially lost revenue, however unless you want to spend significantly more money on school bus parts and service, take care of the problems as soon as possible. This will ensure those small problems to get forgotten and turn into big problems over time. Mechanical issues on buses don’t just magically go away because you don’t address them. Even if the bus is still able to be driven, it doesn’t mean it should be on the road. Likely this will just end up compounding the problem over time.
Make sure you have made the appropriate investments in technology as well. When it comes to school buses, people don’t usually think about technological advancements. However, there are a lot of great advancements such as GPS tracking and mapping systems that can help you track your bus fleets maintenance needs by giving you important stats about each vehicle.