Customer Q&A with North America Central School Bus
North America Central School Bus, the 4th largest school bus operator in the U.S., transports more than 150,000 children to and from school each day on more than 3,000 buses and vans in eight states in America’s heartland. When you add field trips and summer school, the company completes over 132,000 student rides each year. (Jeff Wood, an industry veteran who has been with the company since 2011, oversees safety in six of the company’s eight states.)
What problems, issues or needs led you to engage SBSC?
Our drivers and driver candidates come to us with a wide range of driving experience, from soccer moms looking for part-time work to long-haul tractor trailer operators looking for a job that’s closer to home. Our job is to give them the best possible training to reduce risk and ensure a safe ride for both drivers and students. We need high-quality, current training materials that are easy to understand and retain.
What made you choose SBSC? What made their services stand out from others?
SBSC’s program is built in a way that helps drivers learn faster and retain the material longer. The manuals they provide for our trainers are easy to follow and give the trainers exactly what they need in simple, straightforward language. The company stays up with current issues, from bullying to OSHA regulations, and reflects that by constantly refreshing the content of its training programs.
What has the implementation phase and ongoing relationship been like?
The SBSC approach to training is working very well for us. It’s a totally new way of training, which combines videos with hands-on experience to engage drivers. In the old days, we presented 15 videos in a week and expected trainees to remember all that content when we went out to the buses at the end of classroom instruction. With SBSC’s program, trainees watch each video module, then we go to the bus yard and show them on a bus. They get hands-on reinforcement to understand the importance of each topic, policy and procedure. The videos take drivers through the training step by step and they take books home with them each night. Each day’s lesson builds on the prior day.
What have been the greatest benefits of working with this company? Can you share specifically how SBSC helped you reach your goals?
The training program that SBSC has built helps our drivers learn faster and retain more. The SBSC team is incredibly responsive and their materials are high quality and easy to understand. They also help us reinforce training on an ongoing basis by providing posters and daily reminders with messaging that reinforces the introductory training. From winter driving to student loading, these posters remind drivers to always put safety first and to be prepared for the unexpected. In addition to CDL training, we also use SBSC products for monthly safety meetings in which defensive driving is always stressed.
How has your experience been working with the SBSC team?
The SBSC team is always there for us. When we send an email, they respond right away. I’m always happy to work with them because they really do care about their customers and want us to be successful. I can’t ask for anything more.
How is the company aligned with the values that drive your business?
Their products are excellent and support our overarching goals to avoid collisions and keep drivers and student passengers safe. We’ve seen reductions in collisions and injuries every year since we introduced the SBSC training programs. We’re proud of these results and always highlight our training program when talking with prospective customers.
Would you recommend SBSC to others? What positive benefits would you emphasize?
Yes, I recommend SBSC to others. Their programs are easy to promote because they are so good.