Florence Unified School District introduces tech to its school bus system

For parents of schoolchildren who take the bus to school every day, it can be stressful to think about the overall safety of their children. From distracted driving to road hazards to engine trouble, there are a number of factors that can feed into that kind of anxiety. One thing parents shouldn’t worry about is the whereabouts of their student’s bus. With the help of mobile app technology, parents in the growing Florence Unified School District can keep a sharper eye on their child in real time.

Along with the suburban Boyertown Area School District (BASD), which rests about an hour northwest of Philadelphia, the Florence district will take part in a tech-based initiative that tracks school buses in the respective school systems.

CalAmp, a technology solutions company, recently announced that the project will implement its Synovia Solutions school bus tracking app, known as Here Comes The Bus, which is already in use in the United States. Currently, about 350,000 users are already on the app across North America. The app provides real-time tracking of bus location through email and push notification alerts to ensure students and parents arrive at the school bus stop when they’re supposed to. Here Comes The Bus is essentially ride-sharing technology for school buses. It blends GPS data from location management units with software to pinpoint a bus’s arrival time.

Florence will also partner with CalAmp’s Synovia subsidiary to integrate a suite of digital tools on the buses throughout the district. The goal is to improve overall safety, while also increasing fleet efficiency and saving money. 

“The Here Comes The Bus app is another way we strive to keep parents informed and their children safe. Our students will know exactly when to arrive at the bus stop and their parents will know when they are stepping off the bus in the afternoon,” said Shannon Weber, director of transportation, Florence Unified School District, in a statement. “The new technology reinforces our commitment to making our buses the safest way to transport students to and from school.”

The app is available for download on Android and iOS devices now and will be available throughout the first semester. Here Comes The Bus is powered by cloud-based software that provides school transportation managers with the fleet information that can help run bus routes more safely and efficiently. Parents can get up-to-the-minute alerts and daily summaries tied to on-time bus stop arrivals.

August also happens to be School Bus Safety Month, which is the perfect time to implement a program that boosts awareness around bolstering the overall well-being of students on buses. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children who take the bus are 70 times more likely to get to school safely compared to being transported by car.

Nick Esquer

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