Sun State Bus Centers recently conducted training for 12 Florida school bus fleets including Lee, Collier, Manatee, Highlands, DeSoto, Glades, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus. Also included were students from C and L Transportation, Palm Beach County, Broward County and local Vo-Tec schools to introduce them to the world of the yellow bus.

One hundred and forty-five techs attended the classes held on June 27, 28 and 29, who enjoyed a wide range of subjects from Cummins engines to electrical training. Sun State Bus Centers has a long-standing relationship with companies such as Cummins, Mitsubishi Electric, Meritor, MCC Air Conditioning and many more suppliers who have provided training in the past.

Along with the suppliers who providing training, Sun State Bus Centers also arranged diagnostic classes taught by John McLane who is the in-house trainer for Sun State. McLane provided hands-on training as he broke the classes down to smaller groups. This allowed the techs to get their hands on the buses and solve diagnostic tests. There is going to be a high demand for certified technician programs and Sun State Bus Centers will be there to provide on-site training and online training.

A couple of class presentations that caught the attention of the technicians were the IC Bus Learning Management System and the IC Bus OnCommand System sessions. These online tools have been provided to all Florida school districts and can be accessed at no charge. The Learning Management System gives Florida school bus technicians access to more than 50 online classes that they can take at their convenience.

Along with the Learning Management System, techs also learned about the other range of software tools for technicians and fleet managers that allows for 21st century management of fleet maintenance. Some of these softwares include:

OnCommand Service Information, which is an online portal offered by IC Bus and is an essential tool for technicians and school bus fleet managers.

The OnCommand Parts database is the one-stop-shop for parts. This application allows users to access illustrated breakdowns of vehicle parts so they can easily identify the correct item. Users can build a parts list, get an estimate and submit orders to their local IC Bus dealer directly through the site. Service and repair information for IC Bus models are accessible when users search by VIN, model, engine, vendor and more. Resources including original manuals, electrical diagrams and warranty coverage are available, as well as compiled vehicle recall histories.

The Fleet Information Request Tool is organized by vehicle identification number. This tool gives users access to at-a-glance information about their entire fleet including model, engine, warranty start dates, open recalls and component serial numbers. The data is displayed into a single spreadsheet so the information is comprehensive and easily searchable.

The iKnow diagnostic database is an intuitive, searchable database that allows bus owners and technicians to search by mechanical problem and take the guesswork out of their repair diagnostics. iKnow is a great place to reference articles related to solving a particular problem.

It was a great event and very rewarding to see our Florida school bus technicians engaged, along with their input and questions. Sun State Bus Centers would like to thank Steve Lucas of Lee County School, Carl Boucard of Palm Beach County Schools and Chris Mundell of Hernando County School for their hospitality and for providing the classrooms and shop space to make these events happen. Also, a big thanks to the managers of the school districts who sent their technicians and showed their commitment to providing a safe and reliable bus.