Parents of Durham now have an option to track their child’s bus location when curious about their whereabouts.
The “Here Comes the Bus” application allows parents to view real time school bus information of where their child’s location is via smart phone, tablet or computer using the latest in GPS technology.
According to the Durham Public Schools Transportation Services Department this app was implemented earlier this month. In North Carolina, the app is exclusive to Durham.
To register, according to the Durham Public Schools website parents would visit the “Here Comes the Bus” website and click the sign up button. Furthermore, parents would enter the school’s code, create a user profile and add the student’s ID number followed by a download.
Parents, and officials have given their input about the app and said it’s positive & beneficial.
“This app is very good for parents, and family members. These people are allowed to now view real time of where their children are located. We have been getting calls at times of why are buses late etc. With this app parents now have verification of when buses arrived or departed from the particular school,” said Marlon Watson, Durham Public Schools Director of Transportation.
Watson also got into specifics of how the app notifies parents’ of when the bus arrives to a home or departs school.
“If the parent is not viewing the actual map at the time there is a Geofence around the point of destination and when the bus crosses it the parent will receive a notification letting them know the bus is close or has arrived,” Watson said.
As far as for funding, Watson also explained that parents don’t have to pay because the app is built into his contract.
One particular parent had a different thought about this app. She said she wants the Durham Public Schools transportation department to be proactive as far as safety.
“I really love this new app, and it has overall made me aware of my child’s location. I think the public schools transportation department can do a little bit better as far children’s safety. How about implementing video capabilities so we can view our son or daughter’s actions? We’ll be able to view their behavior, safety and to see whether they are being bullied,” said Shyann Villegas, parent.
Another parent shared his views about the new app as well.
“I explained how the app works to my son and he thinks it’s a plus too. Durham Public Schools are being more informative by the day,” said Joe Harris, parent.
North Carolina Central University also has a similar GPS technology app. “ETA Spot” notifies students when their shuttle is arriving to pick them up, and also provides a real time map of the shuttle’s exact location.
“Here comes the bus app is just another advancement in our technology today. It really has given parents a piece of mind,” said Watson.
This story first appeared in the Durham VOICE, a community newspaper produced by NCCU and UNC-Chapel Hill journalism students.