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August 28, 2013  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

North Carolina district expects big savings with GPS system


GREENVILLE, N.C. — Pitt County Schools recently deployed products from Synovia Solutions to help parents keep tabs on their children and to increase efficiency.

Director of Transportation Joey Weathington, who oversees a fleet of more than 200 school buses that transport about 12,000 students daily, said that the GPS system will enable administrators, teachers and parents to locate each bus on a digital map in real time. He said that this will ensure accountability and safety.

"When you have this many buses out on the road, you have mechanical issues," Weathington said. "Sometimes drivers call us and, really, it's hard for them to know what road they're on. So we'll be able to utilize it in a way of getting to them quicker."

The new system will also record each time a bus engine starts up. Weathington said that this will cut back on drivers turning on buses early or when they're not moving, which will save the district thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

A district-wide study found that changes like this, plus reduced mileage and improved driver payroll management, could save nearly $194,000 per year. Weathington said that's more than enough to offset the $120,000 per year that the navigation kits will cost.

"This is just another step of trying to provide things that will allow us all to be more safe and secure about where our buses are, where our children are, and it will all come together," Weathington said.

The money to pay for the GPS kits will come out of Pitt County Schools’ transportation budget.

The district planned to begin installing the trackers this month. The goal is to have them in every bus by Christmas.

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