The future of the fixed route bus is hanging in the balance. Here’s how to fix it.

TransitTech is the key to safe student travel

  •   3 min read

With students go back to school, districts are seeking new technology to make the school bus a safer (and more modern) experience.

article featured image

If you’re a parent or a caregiver, this scenario likely sounds all too familiar: The morning bus arrives, but it’s running so behind schedule that it’s unlikely your child will make it to school on time (which, let’s be honest, makes you late, too). Or, worst of all, the bus dropoff time has come and gone, yet your child still isn’t home. Cue panic mode.

While these situations are, to say the least, stressful for parents and students, they’re also a major headache for school administrators, who have to deal with the fallout — phone calls from frantic, upset caregivers — all while trying to track down the missing students.

And now that coronavirus is in the mix? School districts everywhere are preparing to completely reinvent the way things used to be done. If the school bus wasn’t already in need of a safety and operational overhaul, it certainly is now.

More apps, more problems.

Take one peek into the app store and you’ll immediately see the problem: There are apps that track buses with GPS, apps to optimize routes, apps to monitor children as they board and depart buses, and so on — but there’s not one system that does everything. This is confusing for both parents and schools, so no one really bothers to use these apps.

Recognizing this as a huge issue in districts around the world, we tapped into the problem solving skills we learned in school to build a holistic solution that serves all student populations, no matter the location, district size, or a student’s physical ability. The Via School Bus App is a one-stop-shop for safe, reliable student transportation. Our intuitive and accurate technology boosts a caregiver’s peace of mind while providing an added sense of security for school administrators. 

The Via School Bus solution does everything within one platform, offering countless benefits to all users. Here are a few of our favorites: 

Real-time tracking

Each student receives a unique Bus Pass, either printed and pinned to their backpacks or displayed on their mobile device. The technology allows administrators, parents, and other caregivers to monitor the student’s boarding activity in real time, giving them full visibility on a child’s whereabouts.

Enhanced safety measures

With COVID-19 presenting a whole new set of challenges, our smart tech and operational expertise helps keep students protected from pickup to dropoff, through contact tracing capabilities, vehicle capacity management, and more. 

Special attention for special needs students

Transporting children with special needs comes with added costs and logistical challenges. Not only are caregivers likely to be more involved, but many states have laws mandating that a parent or guardian must be present while the child gets on and off the bus. 

GPS bus tracking shows parents exactly where a bus is, minimizing both rider and caregiver wait time, and preventing special needs children from having to wait too long before their bus arrives. The app also can indicate to the driver a child’s preferences (say, if he doesn’t like to be touched, or if she’s non-verbal, etc.), helping ensure the child’s ride is as comfortable as possible.

Math means a more efficient ride

Our intelligent algorithm-based technology can take into account not just the number and locations of stops on a route, but also a student’s  changing schedule, driver absences, and traffic or construction around town — all calculated seamlessly and automatically. Routes can change as needed, ensuring the bus is always on the best route at all times, so children are not late to or from school, and parents don’t need to rearrange their own schedules if a bus is running late.

Goodbye, manual track-down

The School Bus app automatically shows parents, dispatchers, and school administrators at a glance the location of the bus and the status of the children scheduled to be onboard (waiting for the bus, onboard, etc.), so caregivers always know what’s going on without having to play a game of telephone to find their child.

Mom and dad, we’ve got your back

Authorized caregivers can receive text alerts when the bus is nearby and after a student boards or exits the bus safely, all while monitoring where the bus is traveling for the duration of the trip. This transparency means children no longer need to wait outside at the bus stop for 20 or 30 minutes in the elements, resulting in a safer ride for students, and extreme peace of mind for parents. 

For administrators, it means a more accurate attendance count and long-term data on student transportation, a better understanding of which students along which routes have special needs, and the ability to develop a safer and more peaceful student transportation experience.

The big yellow bus is way overdue for an upgrade — it’s a system that has remained largely unchanged in a hundred years! Today’s on-demand lifestyles require nimble and smart technology to ensure the safety of our world’s most precious cargo while responding to the dynamics of our rapidly changing world.

World-changing ideas. Right in your inbox.

Be the first to know about the latest transportation news and innovations.

Mailbox illustration.

Congrats — you're in!

Please fill out the following details:

Interested in learning more about our unique services? Sign up!

Thank you!

We're grateful to have you in our community.

Thumbs up illustration