If a school bus is running late, most kids have to just stand at their bus stop, with no idea how long they'll be waiting. Apps that will be used soon by Franklin and Portsmouth schools will change that.
"On certain days where it's cold or we have inclement weather, we want to provide them the most accurate time that the bus is arriving," said Lawrence Whiting, operations coordinator for Franklin City Public Schools.
They'll be using an app called 'Spot My Bus.' The android version will be available Monday with an iPhone version expected to be ready shortly after that.
It was free for the schools to get the GPS trackers. Whiting says it will cost somewhere between $10 - $17 for parents to download the app each year.
With the app, parents will be able to specify which bus their child rides and see where it is on a map. They can also set alarms to notify them when the bus gets close to their child's bus stop.
"For example, they can ask for a ten minute alarm and a two minute alarm, so the app will notify them ten minutes prior and two minutes prior of the bus arriving at their stop," said Whiting.
Along with allowing parents to track their kids as they're picked up and dropped off from school, parents will also be able to see where their kids bus is when they're on field trips or at sporting events.
"A lot of times because of our distance we have to travel, the buses get back very late and so the parents can know exactly what time the bus will be arriving at the school," said Whiting.
Starting early next year, Portsmouth Public Schools will be using an app called 'Here Comes the Bus' which also will allow parents to track buses. According to a school spokesperson, the school board just voted in favor of using it at their last board meeting.
The app is expected to be available for parents to use in about 4 – 6 weeks.
Newport News City Public Schools already use the 'Here Comes the Bus' app. They tested it with five schools in the spring and began using it for all schools at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. After entering their child’s identification number, parents are able to track the bus along its route.
Michelle Price, director of public information for Newport News schools, says it’s been tremendously helpful and has greatly reduced the number of calls they receive in their transportation department from parents.