District 202 parents will be able to use a new mobile app to track their kids’ school buses in real time starting April 23, 2018.
The new app follows a year of work between the district’s transportation and technology departments and First Student, District 202’s general education transportation contractor.
District 202 contends with several major transportation logistical challenges because of its size, numerous grade-level train intersections, and condensed, “triple tier” schedule.
The triple tier system was implemented during the recession to save money. It works as intended -- reducing transportation costs by more than $1 million a year -- but also leaves little time for inevitable delays.
“We always tell parents that if traffic is slow for you, it is even slower for the buses, which have to stop at every train track and slowly maneuver in and out of neighborhoods,” said District 202 Transportation Director Ellen Theobald.
When buses are late now, parents must call the transportation department or bus company to try to figure out when buses are arriving, often as they themselves are on their way to work.
“Sometimes buses are a few minutes late – especially during bad weather. This new app will let parents see where their buses are in real time,” she said.
The new app will use GPS to tell parents exactly where their student’s bus is, and approximately when it will arrive. Data bases have been created for each bus route and corresponding list of riders. These data bases are updated nightly.
Parents will also be able to request special email or text notifications to alert them when their buses are a certain distance or time away from their stop.
District 202 parents will receive more information about setting up the app directly from the district and their schools.