Times Have Changed. So Has the Need for Transparency.
Riding the school bus is different than when many of us were students. For one thing, deploying and routing buses on the fly because of changing school schedules and ongoing driver shortages make each day less predictable. For another, family life has grown busier and more complex. Parents need to know when the bus will arrive so they can juggle work, obligations, child-care, split households and after-school activities accordingly.
What hasn’t changed is a parent’s need to know their child is safe. On top of dealing with daily headwinds, many school transportation departments and dispatchers are also overwhelmed with calls from parents looking for the bus. With widespread labor and staffing shortages, you probably don’t have the same number of people to shift around to field calls; maybe no one’s available at all.
A school bus tracking mobile app eases pain points for everyone involved by opening up a new line of mobile communication.
If Parents Can Track Takeout, Why Not the School Bus?
Parents are starting to expect a mobile app for just about everything. If people can use their smartphone and tablets to track a pizza order, they should also be able to locate their child’s school bus. Modern tools for today’s schools, right?
- Provide parents with a school bus tracking mobile app so they can locate their child’s bus on their own.
- Track the bus’s location on their smartphone or tablet.
- Check if their child got on and off the bus safely.
- Be there for drop off so younger students aren’t left unsupervised.
- Eliminate waiting at the bus stop, especially outside in inclement weather.
- Avoid missing the bus and scrambling to get the child to school.
- Plan a smoother day around when the bus will arrive.
- Know when there’s a bus substitution or delay.
Your office has power on the back-end, too. A school bus tracking app also cuts down on dispatchers’ workloads. Enable more proactive communication about bus changes, delays and other important information, and you reduce parents’ need to call.
- Send parents timely alerts and notifications.
- Notify them about schedule and route changes.
- Push alerts when the bus is delayed or broken down.
- Communicate day-of delayed school openings and early dismissals.
- Support multi-home, co-parenting families and afterschool schedules.
- Message all parents or parents of children associated with specific buses or routes.
Safeguard Student Rider Information
Student safety and security is always top priority. Your bus tracking app needs to keep student rider information secure, while providing parents control over access to their child’s rider information. For instance, Zonar MyView™ relies on a unique access code to the custodial contact for each student.
The parent enters their child’s unique district ID to track only that child’s bus. Additional password protection locks down all information and controls access.
Satisfy the Needs of Parents and Your Back Office
For nearly two decades, schools and districts across the U.S. have been using GPS to track every bus in their fleet. Technology and the internet of things (IoT) have advanced over the years, so now you can monitor and manage every bus in real-time, in detail.
Parents only need to track their child’s bus and stay informed of relevant changes. You don’t want them to have your level of insight into your other buses and their riders. Parents also want to be sure their child’s information remains secure. All reasonable expectations.
What parents need in a bus tracking app:
- Ability to track their child’s bus in real-time, on their smartphone or tablet
- App availability on Android and iOS so they can use their favorite, everyday devices
- Easy, intuitive interface so they can just use it with a minimal learning curve
- Flexibility to set alerts, customize tracking options, and visibility into whether their child got on and off the bus safely
- Clear communications from the school when there’s a change
- Peace of mind knowing their child’s information is secure from unauthorized access
What schools and districts need in a bus tracking app:
- Ease-of-use and transparency for parents so that call volumes are reduced
- Ability to easily push communications to parents as needed, in advance or on the fly
- Back-end portal that serves to communicate bus changes, delays and breakdowns
- App availability on Android and iOS to serve a varied community base
- Can be implemented quickly and with minimal disruption
- Flexibility to set up zones around schools and seamlessly manage bus substitutions
- Ability to send one-way messages to appropriate parents regarding routes changes, delays and COVID-19 updates
- Resources to help parents with basic questions about the app and their account
- Secure parent and student information privacy
- Ability to securely track student ridership
- 24/7/365 U.S.-based Customer Support
Next Step – Reduce Your Volume of Parent Calls
More buses, students and daily uncertainty mean more potential for surprises for everyone. Although parents may not know what it takes to run a school bus fleet, many of them understand your job is difficult. Still, they also need to know where their child’s bus is.