Founded in 1950 and built on three generations of family management, Fisher Bus Service has always placed an emphasis on the value of long-term stability and efficiency. Owner and operator, Ryan Fisher, says busHive helped his company accomplish just that. Based out of southeastern Massachusetts, Fisher Bus operates a mixed fleet of school buses, vans, motorcoaches, and miniature trolleys. The operate thousands of field trips, athletic trips and charters per year for school districts, corporate clients and universities.
In an effort to update and streamline their services, Fisher Bus began working with busHive over seven years ago, moving from a pen and paper system to busHive’s more modern technology. Prior to adopting busHive, Fisher had been using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel to designate pickup and drop-off locations, providing drivers with sheets of paper as a way to navigate routes.
“That actually worked for a long time, and it worked for the drivers that had been with us for a long time,” Fisher said. “But at some point, we brought in new work and new drivers, and we knew that we were going to need a better system to manage everything.”
As Fisher began researching different companies, he came across busHive’s technology and found that their program presented the best solution for his organization’s needs.
When faced with a multitude of choices for charter-management software, Fisher said that busHive stood out thanks to its ease of use and ability to consolidate disparate divisions of the Fisher Charter Service company.
“The impetus behind utilizing busHive was that a lot of the features, dispatch, tracking trips, access to a professional format, the ability to share information with customers, were all consolidated in one place where all that information is kept, reported, facilitated to customers, and can be used by the various departments in the operation.”
busHive develops cloud-based technology to streamline workflows and recordkeeping. The company’s charter management technology manages quoting, scheduling, billing and payroll. It also offers integrated solutions for tracking driver compliance and vehicle preventative maintenance.
The system has a built in, fully integrated dispatching and scheduling display. With the click of a button, Fisher’s team can view a calendar and quickly see what equipment they have available each day. This prevents overbooking and allows for the adjustment of rates for high-demand days.
Implementation and integration
busHive utilizes a three-step implementation process: data import, configuration, and training.
For the first step, busHive gathers a company’s work requirements and imports the operation’s local data into the system – customer names, phone numbers, addresses and emails; as well as vehicle and driver information.
busHive’s configuration phase involves customizing the program to suit its client. Support staff imports personalized quotes and confirmations, invoices, billing rates and preferred dispatch display information into the system.
Finally, busHive handles training based on responsibility. Most training is handled over the phone and web, but busHive can conduct on-site training as necessary.
The average implementation is 30 days depending on whether custom development and reporting is required.
“Technology integration can be a major headache – and just like with any software, it’s only as good as what you’re inputting into it,” Fisher said. “We initially piloted the software with the school bus division and once we understood the functionality, we brought on the motorcoach division.”
Fisher Bus now utilizes busHive for quotes, confirmations, scheduling, and driver itineraries. Once a customer books a charter, busHive automatically generates confirmations for the operator. The software customizes contracts’ unique policies, terms, and conditions, specifically for Fisher Bus.
“One of the best aspects for us is the consistency and professionalism with how our customers see a trip. All the information is right there. From the company to all the client’s information and the date, the itinerary is laid out perfectly, the terms and conditions that we have set for the clients is all available right there. It is very clean, very streamlined, and it all works very well into the system.”
When the company runs a quote (and it is accepted by the customer), Fisher said that it is easy to go in and add a vehicle and driver to that particular trip. The driver is notified, and the trip’s date, time, pickup location, and destination are all instantly available to him or her.
According to Fisher, the drivers and dispatch staff have also come to appreciate the instantaneous information generated by the busHive Driver Portal, as well as its flexibility.
“It is such a seamless interaction between the office and the drivers,” Fisher said. “And once the drivers are fully incorporated into the system, it becomes great a tool for payroll and billing as well.”
Service and Support
When it comes to after-sale support, Fisher said busHive has provided exceptional service, either answering questions right away or, if the answer is not immediately available, working to provide a solution as soon as possible.
“There has not been a time where we have had a problem with busHive that has been an outstanding issue and has not been cleared up,” Fisher said. “Their staff has done a wonderful job helping us out with any issues that we have. They are responsive and they take the time to help you out and try to solve your issues.”
When it comes to working in an industry like motorcoach, Fisher said finding the right partners makes all the difference.
“It’s not an easy business, but we’re happy to do it, and it makes it a lot easier when you get really good people working for you,” Fisher said. “That’s kind of the deal. Keep good people around and keep moving forward.”