DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — From maps to apps.
School is back in session which means it’s back to the morning rush of getting the kids ready and out the door in time to catch the bus. But is the bus always on time?
Dartmouth Public Schools is making it easier for students to get on and off the bus with a new app you can access on your phone.
“The more information the better, it will help us communicate with families too. Snowstorm, the bus is going to be 20 minutes late? We can communicate that to everybody who has the app,” Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations James Kiely said.
When they upgraded their mapping software Kiely said it offered an app for parents caregivers and students to track their school bus during morning and afternoon dropoff.
“We have 31 regular big buses and lots of vans that transport kids on a daily basis,” he explained. “Dartmouth is the third largest town in Massachusetts, landwise, so there’s a lot of ground to cover.”
Kiely said their Tremblay buses are all equipped with the new GPS devices, which started on the first day of school. Parents got a letter over the summer explaining how they would work.
“You have traffic, you have weather conditions, you have lots of things that can vary the bus pickup time by a few minutes,” he explained. “So when the bus is a certain distance away from the bus stop, it will send a push notification to their phone, student phones too.”
The app ideally would prevent students from missing their bus and ending up being tardy or absent from school.
Kiely said he is not aware of any other local districts using this technology but is aware there could be glitches with the rollout such as if a bus breaks down and a substitute bus is used for the day.
“We have some extra GPS units so we’re figuring out how to make that work,” he said.
The app does come with a disclaimer that it shouldn’t be the only thing parents and students rely on to catch the bus.