With Zonar’s ZPass student tracking system, students swipe an RFID card over a reader installed on the bus, and their name, the date, location and time that they boarded and disembarked the bus is transferred to the district or bus company.
Student tracking solutions provide pupil transportation operations with an efficient way to monitor their ridership, and with additional capabilities such as reporting on planned versus actual ridership, officials at the companies that offer these systems say they can help in managing fleets and optimizing routes.
Here are the features and specifications of four companies’ student tracking solutions.
Everyday Solutions Inc.
Everyday Solutions Inc. (ESI) offers a rider attendance application through its BusPadPro™ Mobile Data Terminal (MDT). BusPadPro is installed in the cockpit of the school bus and is connected to the onboard GPS transceiver so that data can be updated in real time.
The EveryRider™ attendance application provides the appropriate rider manifest for each school bus. As the bus moves from stop to stop, the list of assigned riders will display on the BusPadPro screen, according to Bill Westerman, vice president of marketing. The driver selects the name of each rider on the screen, and then the attendance data is sent to the central database.
ESI also offers a separate solution for parents and caregivers called HereComesTheBus.™ By logging on to any web-enabled computer, they can see their child’s bus travel to a stop and then on to school. In the afternoon, they see the reverse.
“There are options for parents and caregivers to get e-mail or SMS text alerts about bus stop arrival prediction, or they can download a smartphone app that will give them all of this information,” Westerman says.
ESI also offers rider attendance solutions that utilize bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
With Synovia’s mobile data terminal installed in a bus, the driver can log students on and off as they enter and exit the bus.
Synovia Corp. offers two student tracking solutions that Vice President — Regional Sales Manager Brad Bishop says show in real time what students have entered and exited the bus, as well as when and where they’ve done so. Users can also compare planned versus actual ridership, which, Bishop adds, can help in managing routes.
The company’s RFID-based solution is an add-on to the company’s GPS offering. Students scan their RFID cards on a reader that’s installed in the front of the bus.
Synovia’s second student tracking option is an MDT-based solution. The terminal is installed in the vehicle, and it allows the driver to download the passenger list.
“On the screen, they have the list of passengers, and the driver logs the students on and off,” Bishop explains.
He says the RFID system is geared toward regular-education, high-capacity routes, while the MDT solution is geared toward special-needs ridership because the kids don’t have to use cards.
Bishop notes, however, that both systems will work for both types of ridership, and pupil transporters can use both systems within the same bus because they work in tandem.
“The terminal is a higher price point, but it has other capabilities, such as pre- and post-trip inspection,” he adds.