Districts launch program for parents to track school buses

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The school year is less than a week away for many students and some districts are starting a new program they say will eliminate long waits at the bus stop.

Wayne Township is one of the districts using the “Here Comes the Bus” program for the first time this school year. It’s a website and an app that allows parents to track their child’s school bus in real time.

“There are times after school when the bus may be running late or something happens, especially in those first couple weeks of school. Drivers are still trying to figure out their routes and parents are trying to figure out when they’re supposed to be at the stop. So this really allows us to better communicate with parents — for them to feel more safe and secure that their students are getting to the bus stop on time. Also, with our parents that are having to leave for work before the children leave for the bus stop, they can monitor this from the computer at work,” said Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts.

It lets parents know exactly when to send their kids to the bus stop, so they’re not waiting outside if the bus is running late. Parents can even sign up for push alerts, and get notifications on their phone when the bus is about five minutes away. The district said this keeps kids from waiting out in the extreme heat or the extreme cold.

“It can be a real stresser for parents to send their students out to the bus stop in hot weather or in cold weather. Especially when it’s really frigid temperatures,” said Wayne Township Transportation Director Janet Petrisin

Petrisin said it is also a safety factor, because it keeps kids from standing by themselves at the bus stop for too long.

Wayne Township said only parents will be able to use the tracking system.

“For safety reasons, parents have to have their student’s ID number to be able to use this app. So a stranger on the street couldn’t get on to find out where that student is. They have to have that identification number to be able to do that,” said Butts.

Butts told 24-Hour News 8 the “Here Comes the Bus” system isn’t costing the district any additional money this year. He said the company behind the app, Synovia Solutions, already operates the GPS systems on the buses. Parents will just have to pay a fee if they want to get push notifications through the app. Using the tracking website is free, but using the app will cost $3.50 a month or $18.50 a year.

There are several other districts using this system this year including Avon, Washington Township and Decatur. For more information click here.

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