Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Office Closing

MicroAnalytics' offices will be closed from Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 at 4:00 pm and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 8:30 am.  If you have any questions or concerns, please call 416-691-1222.  In case of emergency during the closing, please e-mail

The staff of MicroAnalytics, and my family and myself
wish you and your family 
A Happy Holiday Season!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Automating Assigning Students

If you have more than a few hundred students who change schools each summer when you do your upgrade in Bustops and do not have Eligibility Coding setup in your data, you should consider having us help you do this.

The steps are:
  • draw in school attendance and walk boundaries
  • draw in group stop areas
  • code to the streets in each area, the school of attendance for the roads, grades at that school and the type of transportation students get from the street to that school
Once this is complete, when you assign students to their stops, Bustops will automatically designate the students' stop type, and retain the information of which stop the students on the street should get assigned to.

Having this information setup in Bustops can greatly decrease the number of students you need to individually assign or reassign to stops each summer.

To discuss how this would work for your school district and setup a GoToMeeting appointment give the office a call.

Have a great week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pondering New Webinar Series

I've been trying to think of new Webinar Topics we could do, and was reviewing our Tutorial and old Training Class documentation.

I am thinking of doing a 6 week Webinar Series - "A Routing Problem".  The series would take us through the steps needed to see the impact of opening a new school on routes. 

Each Monday participants will receive an e-mail with information for you to read and ponder.  Then, the Wednesday of that week we would have a Conference Call/Webinar to discuss participants ideas regarding the information received Monday, what additional information is needed and what steps would be taken in Bustops to see the effects of the information at hand at that time.

Webinars would be expected to last 30-45 minutes.  This will be of most benefit to experienced Bustops users and any School Districts who may redistrict.

Let me know what you think - add a comment to the blog or e-mail to express your interest.  Webinar sizes will be restricted to 10 customers.

I'm really excited about this idea and hope you are too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Support Notice

In observation of Thanksgiving, our office will be closed on Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th.

The office will reopen at 8:00 am EST on Monday, November 28th.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If you don't call, we worry about you

I want to encourage everyone to call for help with BUSTOPS as needed, no matter how small or large your question seems.  It doesn't matter if you're brand new to BUSTOPS or are an experienced user - we are here to help you and answer any questions that you may have.

At this time of year you might find yourself needing help with:
  • scenarios in case a levy fails
  • new routes based on a levy passing
  • scenarios for closing or opening new school buildings in the 2012-2013 school year
  • adjusting walk areas or attendance boundaries for existing schools
We are here to help you get the information you need from BUSTOPS.  Don't hesitate to ask.

Hope you have been enjoying the warm fall weather we've gotten recently!

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Our Mind

October is one of the months in the year when State Reports are on our mind.  We're busy helping customers with the New Jersey State Report as well as the Pennsylvania State Report.

Most of you have state reporting you must complete each year.  If you are curious how Bustops might help you with this process, give us a call.  We have developed processes and procedures for most states, so, odds are that we can help you out.

Hope you're having a good fall season.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Support Notice

In observance of Columbus Day, our office will be closed on Monday, October 10, 2011.

The office will reopen at 8:00 am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call 416-691-1222.

I hope everyone has a nice long weekend.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I trust that everyone has had a smooth, successful return to school.  And, I want to congratulate everyone on the hard work they did to get their BUSTOPS data ready for school startup.

I know its hard to start thinking about it already, but I wanted to mention, that should you have any redistricting projects for this year, any school openings or closings or would like to look at optimizing your routes, please call the BUSTOPS Support Staff for help.

On a personal note, both of my daughters are now in school.  For the next year they will be going to school every other day, on opposite days from each other.  So, if you hear less noise in the background from now on, that's why.

Take care!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Amusing Situation

I just had to share this with everyone.

This morning I was telling my daughters that their grandparents (my parents) left today for a 2 month (car) trip to California.  My exact words were, at approximately 7:30, were:  "Grandma and Grandpa should be across the border by now."

The girls came running into my office to "see where they are on the computer".  What they expected to see was a map with a GPS position for them and to see the picture from a webcam.  Last March some good friends of ours went on a cruise for a month.  So, during the time they were away, each morning I would bring up on the computer the webcam from the deck and the map with the GPS position of their ship.  This is what my daughters automatically thought about seeing as their grandparents are on vacation.

I had to explain that their grandparents were driving, in the Jeep and that we couldn't see them on the computer, and that they were not on a ship.  Thankfully, my father left me a paper map with the route plotted on it, which I now having hanging  up for the girls to follow.

However, when I think about this concept... we now have the ability to have GPS units on buses and see where they are in Transportation Departments.  How long will it be until we can do the same with passenger vehicles?

Have a great day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School

To those of you who started back to school last week or will this week.  I hope you have a smooth week.

To the rest of you who start back to school next week or on September 6th... please call us with any last minute questions.  I trust that by now everyone has everything printed what they need to start school.

Hope you all are able to enjoy the last official month of the summer season.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time to wrap things up

Well, we're now only 4 weeks away from school here in Ontario (to which I say Yipee as a parent).  I know many of your School Districts also return to school the Tuesday after Labor Day, while many others will return to school in the last half of August.

It's now time to finalize your routes for the 2011-2012 school year.  Get route packages printed for drivers, get student lists printed for the schools and send out your letters to parents or postcards. 

It is always recommended that you get this information printed and distributed ASAP.  Don't wait until the last minute - you don't want to temp fate and maybe risk a printer problem or your network being down for last minute maintenance.

I hope you're all busy printing, printing, printing to get everything wrapped up for school startup.

I also hope you're all enjoying the summer weather, too!

Monday, July 25, 2011

GPS Enhancement Changes

Here are some of the updates to the GPS Enhancement in the recent Bustops program update:

  • improved labels on the map to identify stops on the GPS information
  • support for 24/7 video systems
  • enhanced GPS Event recognition  -- users can define how the signals recorded by the GPS hardware (i.e. door activating, stop arm in use, flashing lights activated) are interpreted.  For example, that a particular signal implies that a stop is taking place.
  • the changes to the route sequence display mentioned in an earlier Blog entry and the zoom to stop feature.
These changes will be of particular interest to those of you who have the GPS Enhancement.  If you don't have the GPS Enhancement but want more information on it, give Mary a call in the office.

Hope you are all having a pleasant summer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-July Thoughts

Wow, time is flying and it's already mid-July.  Most of you are doing well -- being most of the way through your route planning for the 2011-2012 school year startup.

This means that you're almost ready to start printing Letters to Parents, Bus Passes, Postcards or sending information to the newspaper.  Then, you'll be printing the new routes to give to your drivers.

Don't forget ... before you start printing the reports, you should review some of them in the Preview screen and compare the information to the information in your students and stops database.  You may need to run update commands in BUSTOPS, depending on which fields you're using in your reports.

We love helping you by answering your questions and showing you how to use BUSTOPS, but it is your responsibility to ensure the information in your BUSTOPS program is correct; and that the reports are correct.

And, as always, don't wait until the last minute to print your reports.  Imagine how upset you'll be if your printer breaks or your network is down the day before you need the report.

Hope you're all enjoying the summer weather!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

For a Good Cause

Just thought I'd post a quick note about something I'm working on to give back to the community.

2011 is the 100th Anniversary of the university I attended, WLU.  They are running a promotion for alumni to do 100 hours of volunteer work in the community.

To this end, I've been working on crocheting baby blankets for the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.  So far I have made 4 blankets and it's taken about 70 hours.  I think if I finish 2 more, I'll have my 100 hours completed.

I'm very excited to be able to give back to this great Hospital that has helped a number of friends' and family's children.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is C?

Thanks to the observant eye of one of the participants in the Route Paths and Driving Directions Webinar yesterday, I've found something else new in the Bustops update to pass along.

A new Route Analysis Violation - C.  This indicates a corner stop, a stop code with a route code of RC, that is located too far from the corner.

This can be helpful with route paths.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy long weekend.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Additional Features of New Version

Here are some additional new features in the Bustops update that's available:

Route Path and Drive Directions Changes:
  • Changes have been made to the color settings options on the Modify Route Path
  • A detailed message about how to modify the path is presented in the modify window.
  • The Modify Route Path function has been simplified
  • Reset button allows the user to start over with the modification without leaving the screen
  • Done button saves your changes and returns to the main route analysis screen
  • Eliminated save messages
Driving directions have a new option to suppress directional entries when leaving a stop

Reports Changes:
  • Suppress printing of blank lines in driving directions
Mapping Changes:
  • Scanned paper maps or aerial photographs can be loaded in JPEG (.JPG) format, greatly reducing the memory required for this feature
Route Analysis Changes:
  • Sorting of the lists of Not Loaded Stops or All Stops has been improved
  • Rider count has been changed improve speed

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

July Holiday Closing

In observance of the holiday weekend, MicroAnalytics will be closed on Friday, July 1st and Monday, July 4th, 2011.

The office will reopen on Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 8:00 am.

Have a great holiday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Bustops Update

There is a new BUSTOPS update available with some interesting new features in Route Analysis.

A customer, who recently got this update, due to the updates to the Animated Routes feature in Route Analysis, called for support.  She wondered why there were diamonds outlining one of her stops in route analysis.  I took a look at it... sure enough there was the diamond we're all used to seeing with a slightly larger diamond outlining it.

After investigating, this is a new feature that indicates which stop is highlighted in blue (but not necessarily selected with a * beside it)  in the stops listing for a route.  Another beneficial feature is a new speed menu item "Zoom to Stop".  To get this, right click on a stop in the stop sequence list.

If you are interested in receiving this update, call the office and we'll ftp it to you.

Hope everyone is now well into having their routes planned for the 2011-2012 school year!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little Perspective

This is for anyone who has ever, or will in the future, accidentally cut me off on the telephone.

Believe me, I don't take it personally.  When I was about 10 years old I was speaking to my father on the telephone while he was at work.  He was talking away to me and then all of a sudden the line went dead.  A while later he called back to tell me that he had spilled coffee on his desk and couldn't find a good spot to put down the receiver while he cleaned it up -- so he just hung up!

Trust me, getting accidentally cut off now doesn't phase me and I'll definitely call you back.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's time to get serious

Good Job! to everyone who has their students upgraded in BUSTOPS and your routes planned for the 2011-2012 school year.

If you haven't contacted BUSTOPS Support to reserve your GoToMeeting appointment to upgrade your students, you need to get going.  See my earlier post for steps to be done to prepare for the 2011-2012 school year, and Ken's comments about using student downloads to upgrade your students.

When  you get ready to print, don't forget to review your routes in the BUSTOPS Report Preview screen  before  you start printing, and compare the information to what you have in your students and stops database.  The way your reports have been setup may require update commands to be run within BUSTOPS before you print.

Happy planning!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Friday

In observance of Good Friday our office will be closed on Friday, April 22, 2011.

We will reopen at 8:00 am on Monday, April 25, 2011.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hint for Vista Users

We have recently had a challenge sending an executable program update for BUSTOPS to a customer running Windows Vista.

First, we made sure that the User Account Control was turned off.  We then found that the Security in their Windows Mail needed to have the "Block Files that potentially contain a virus" turned off.

So, if you ever have problems receiving executable files by e-mail, these are some settings that can be checked.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Windows Vista and Windows 7

Throughout 2010, users have been installing BUSTOPS on Windows7 and Windows Vista operating systems. Usually, these installations have gone fine with no need to involve BUSTOPS Support.

However, in a few situations, there have been some challenges due to certain features of Windows7 and Windows Vista. If you run into any problems installing BUSTOPS, contact the office for notes about resolving these issues.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Recent Support "Call"

The other morning I had my first Support "Call" at about 8 am.  I was getting my computer turned on, etc., and my 5 year old daughter (who has been "helping" me do support since she was 4 months old) asked how to get into BUSTOPS.

I explained she needed to find the BUSTOPS icon on the desktop and then double click it.  Then she would see the main BUSTOPS screen.

It must have worked for her because she then came and "paid" me.

Hope you enjoyed my little story.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Steps for updating for 2011-2012

Today I thought I'd list the steps to be done once your students' grades are rolled up:

  • reassign students who will move to a new building to stops for that school
  • import or enter new kindergarteners
  • adjust routes for new students and remove stops without students
  • notify parents - through newspaper postings, letters or post cards
  • print new route packages for drivers - routes with riders, driving directions, route maps
Call for help with any of the steps as you need it.  Also, BUSTOPS can be used to create and customize all of the reports/posting information noted above.

If you have many students who change schools each year, you should make sure Eligibility Coding/Placement Lines are setup for your SD to cut down on the work needing to be done each spring.

Happy planning.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Looking forward

I've found that in the blink of an eye 5 years can go by... let alone a school year.  I know it's hard to believe but it's time to start planning for the 11-12 school year already.

If your SD is opening or closing a school next year, or you need to look at cutting routes you need to book a GoToMeeting appointment ASAP to get your students' grades rolled over and then start the work for planning your new routes.

Even if you don't have big changes this year, its a good idea to get your roll over done soon so you aren't stressed with a time crunch later.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Holiday Notice

Just to let everyone know, our office will be closed on Monday, February 21, 2011 for President's Day.

If you have an urgent BUSTOPS support issue, please e-mail and someone will return your call.

Have a great long weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last Support Talk




For Users of BUSTOPS by MicroAnalytics, February, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

We are pleased to announce the launch of the revised website!  And, excited to inform you of the start of our new BUSTOPS Support Blog.

The new blog will be replacing the BUSTOPS User Login and Support Link sections of the previous BUSTOPS web site.  It also will replace our “Support Talk” newsletters.

Our blog can be accessed through a link on the website.  I’m looking forward to be communicating with you more frequently about topics that arise.  I trust you will find it informative and useful.

If you wish to discuss any of the ideas in this Support Talk please call us at 416-691-1222.

If you have any questions please call customer service at (416) 691-1222


1971 Queen St. East,

Suite 103       

                                                                                                                                Toronto, ON
                                                                                                                                M4L 1H9

Monday, February 14, 2011

Changing Bus Numbers

Just a quick reminder, when you need to change a route to a new bus... don't force the change into the student records.  The change needs to be made to the stops - by moving them to the correct route in Route Analysis.  Otherwise, oops, you'll be calling for help because you changed the students to their new route but the route still prints on the old bus.

Hope this helps you with planning your 2011-2012 routes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Welcome to my new Support Blog.  It's to replace the Support Link section of our website and the "Support Talk" we used to e-mail periodically.  And the launch of my blog coincides with the launch of our revamped website.

Hope you enjoy them both.  As you can tell I'll be posting info and tidbits about BUSTOPS, as well as a some personal antidotes for fun. 

Until next time...


I'm now LIVE with a feed through BUSTOPS.COM.  Guess we'll see how this goes.

Dishwasher Challenge

My dishwasher works now, but check out what happened...

On the weekend we received a safety notice for our dishwasher that the model we have has caught on fire when being used. 

Today, I called the 800 # for the company and got a message that the wait times are very long, it suggested people try the web site.  I went to the web site and when I tried to enter my e-mail address, as it asked I got an error message telling me to call the 800 #.  I called the 800# again, waited on hold for approx 40 minutes, spoke to a lady who confirmed that the dishwasher needs to be fixed... then she put me on hold, presumably to book the service call and when she went to pick the line back up, I got disconnected.

Now I am in a quandary, do I call again and how long will I be on hold this time and will I be disconnected again or do I try to contact someone local and see if they can book the appointment themselves...

Can't remember exactly how I finally got this resolved, but thank goodness it's working!

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Blog

So, this is my new blog to replace the Support Link section of our web site. 

I'm excited about finding out what all this "blogging" is about and be in touch with everyone on a more regular basis.

Check soon for another post.
Take care!