New Student Transportation Provider at SFUSD

Editor Note: This guest post is cross-posted from the San Francisco Unified School District’s blog

Zum Promises Modernized Transportation With Upgrades in Service, Safety and Reliability

The SFUSD Transportation Department strives to create safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable transportation to and from school for our students. To that end, the District engaged in a rigorous Request for Proposals (RFP) process that led to SFUSD selecting Zum as a new transportation partner for the next five years. Zum promises to provide a modern, connected fleet powered by an integrated service platform, with the ability to provide end-to-end visibility and transparency to our school community.

We are excited to begin the 2021-2022 school year with the means to provide a seamless, full-service transportation infrastructure equipped with modern technology to unify and improve the experience for our students, families, administrators, and bus drivers.

Increased Transparency and Improved Communications

Zum’s service offerings promise increased transparency and better communication at each step in the process, creating an enhanced experience for families. Students and families should expect to see the following main changes in the service from Zum:

  • New, green fleet: Students will be riding in brand new school buses, many of which will be greener from day one to meet SFUSD’s sustainability goals.
  • Easy onboarding: Improved onboarding, including detailed verification of family and riders’ data in six languages.
  • Real-time route updates: The Zum mobile app provides everyone who is part of the child’s school day (families, school sites and the Transportation Department) with real-time route updates and estimated arrival times, eliminating questions or concerns about the location of your child or their ride to school. All students will be checked in and out of the bus at pick-up and drop-off as an added safety feature.
  • Personalized preferences: Zum’s technology offers a more personalized care experience for all students by making it easy for parents to communicate preferences and updates directly through the app. For instance, a family can use the Zum app to notify the District instantly about any ride cancellations or issues with pick-ups.
  • Feedback and complaints: With the Zum app, families can rate their child’s daily ride experience and give feedback, or directly speak with a Zum team member.
  • Enhanced accountability: Zum will provide performance data and reports to the District, allowing SFUSD to have a better understanding of how transportation is serving students and families, and which areas need to be improved upon.

At SFUSD, we are committed to improving transportation for our students, and working toward environmentally-friendly options for our community. Our longer-term plans include transitioning to a zero-emissions electric fleet, which will make SFUSD one of the first school districts in the U.S. to operate on an entirely electric fleet by 2025.

We look forward to welcoming our students back to the classroom!


3 reasons school transportation isn’t working — and how to get things back on track

No matter how many years pass after high school graduation, it’s hard to forget how you got to and from school. Whether you walked, biked, carpooled or took the yellow school bus, it’s one of those things that sticks with us. And that’s not just because of fond (or not so fond) memories; it’s because school transportation hasn’t changed in more than 80 years!

As a result of that lack of evolution, the system just isn’t working for today’s students, families or school districts. Here are 3 reasons why — and how Zūm is working with districts, drivers and families to reimagine student transportation:

  1. Lack of visibility: Once their child steps onto the bus, parents have no idea if they made it to school or not. By implementing state-of-the-art technology like RFID and offering a simple-to-use mobile app, Zūm enables schools, districts and parents to have visibility into where their children are in real-time along with any route updates and the driver’s profile. Not only does this increase safety and alleviate parental worry, it also significantly reduces the number of customer support calls districts and schools need to manage on a day-to-day basis. 
  1. Inefficient Routes: Students today are sitting through long bus rides that can take them way out of their way — taking precious time away from after school activities, homework or time spent with family or friends. But with Zūm’s safe and modern service, inefficient routes, long travel times and unexpected delays are a thing of the past. In fact, 70% of students using Oakland Unified School District’s transportation system previously spent more than one hour on a bus traveling to school each way, but that number has shifted since Zūm implemented new, flexible routes for the district so that 97% are waiting less than an hour. 
  1. Scattered information: School districts lack a simplified, end-to-end platform, relying instead on a variety of systems and technologies that don’t talk to one another to make things work. With Zūm, school districts can now manage daily operations, track and plan vehicle use and driver profiles, and analyze performance and service data from one place. This not only makes things less complicated, but can also save districts time and money.

At Zūm, we recently launched a comprehensive student transportation service designed for school districts, drivers, and parents. If you’d like to learn more about how to reimagine transportation for your school or district, please reach out! (1-855-RIDEZUM) We’d love to chat.