As a parent, nothing is more important than a child’s safety. No one wants to think of their child waiting alone to be picked up or getting off at the wrong stop. Parents expect to know exactly where their kids are and that they are safe.
IDEA’s Transportation Department has found success in both safety and efficiency by using an app for parents called Here Comes the Bus®. Powered by software from Synovia Solutions, parents and students can customize their bus route, and always track the bus’s location as one would on any GPS platform.
Parents can use a single account to track several children’s route activities. From any smartphone, tablet, or computer, they can even see when the bus has entered their neighborhood stop’s proximity and get real-time notifications each time a child enters or exits the bus.
“As soon as you enter the bus, there is a scanner,” says Estevan Bautista, Campus Transportation Manager at IDEA Alamo. “Each student has a sensor attached to their lanyard or backpack and scans themselves in as soon as they board.”
The Here Comes the Bus® website and app are also encrypted and secure to keep all of a student’s scanning activity and data safe.
Bautista says that while the app does offer effective real-time communication with parents and boosts safety and accountability, it is also a useful tool to ensure that transportation routes are as efficient as possible when it comes to tracking gas, route times, mileage, and even the number of students being transported.
The bus app can also come in handy when communicating information to parents regarding delays due to traffic or weather. IDEA Alamo parents Walter and Sayde Vasquez use the app to track their daughter Natalie’s route home from school and say the app’s many useful features help build trust between parents and the school.
“As a parent, you expect to know where your kids are at all times,” Walter says. “We are trusting the school and the bus driver to deliver our loved ones to and from school safely, and this app gives you that piece of mind.”
Vicente Rodriguez, a bus driver at IDEA Alamo, says he drives the same route each day and gets to know students and their parents very well. As a father himself, he says he takes his responsibility for the safety of all students very seriously.
“My own kids ride the bus to school,” says Rodriguez. “And when I am working, I try to always meet the same standards of safety and efficiency for our families that I would expect as a parent myself.”
Rodriguez says he realizes the importance of his role, since each of his passenger’s days begin and end right there on the bus.
“We are the first ones to see our students in the morning, and the last ones to say goodbye at the end of the day,” he continues. “We have the ability to make the first and best impact on their day and help them look forward to coming to school safe, happy, and ready to learn.”