(Gillette, Wyo.)The Campbell County School District launched the new GPS bus tracking app Oct. 1 and Transportation Supervisor Keith Chrans said, “Its working very well.” So far the Here Comes the Bus app has around a thousand accounts. According to Chrans the transportation department has 112 bus routes and out of approximately 9,000 students in the district, 4,800 students ride the bus.
Chrans said, the app has reduced the amount of parents calling the bus barn to ask where the bus is. “Once they’re registered, now they can see where only their student’s bus is at. They can track it as it leaves the bus garage, goes and does their route and when it gets close to their home, they send their kids out.” The program settings can be customized for individual students and parents can also add grandparents and daycare providers to be included in notifications.
Monday morning’s snowy weather was a great test for the app. On Monday alone an additional 19 accounts were created. Chrans said he’d like to see the number of total accounts at around 2,500. It’s important not only for the parent’s convenience, but also for the safety of the students. If you know when the bus is coming, it cuts down on the time kids are standing outside waiting on the bus.
The total cost of the Here Comes the Bus program breaks down to less than $2 per bus, per day. Chrans said the district is still working through some growing pains. Bus drivers usually go through their route sheets every week or two to verify which students are actually riding the bus. Chrans said “Unless we’ve assigned them to a trip, the parent won’t be able to download that information.” The other common hurdle is parents not having the correct information from PowerSchool. You need your student’s ID number and the school code, “87135” for the whole Campbell County School District.
School bus maintenance has also caused a slight hiccup. Chrans said that when a sub bus is used for a route, transportation can use the app to send out a push notification for everyone on that route. “Today your bus is not running. It’s in for mechanical repairs,” Chrans said “That way they know the system won’t work that day and they know why.”
The transportation department is also working to pre-wire some of the spare buses so when they are used as sub buses, the GPS unit from the route bus can easily be transferred to the sub bus and the app will work normally.
If you have students in the district and have not signed up for Here Comes the Bus, click here. Once you’ve downloaded the app you can add family members to the notifications. The school district has also posted a brief tutorial on their website to help parents get started.