DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. — Student Transportation Inc. rolled out SchoolWheels SafeStop, a mobile app that allows parents, students and schools nationwide to securely pinpoint the location of a vehicle on its route to and from school.
The app updates in real time with stop/arrival information and includes notifications of when a student has boarded or exited the bus, according to the company. A child's bus is displayed on a detailed map showing its current location in relation to the child's stop, so parents can monitor the bus along its route.
Built by STI's Technology and Innovation group in 2013, the app was successfully tested last school year in Brevard County, Florida, where STI subsidiary SchoolWheels Direct transports students attending the Millennium, Magnet and Charter Schools of Choice.
The SafeStop app is accessible from any device connected to the Internet — smartphones, tablets and desktop computers — and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app will be available to thousands of parents and students in select school districts in Florida, South Carolina, California and Illinois during the upcoming school year, company officials said.
"The school bus arrival time guessing game will end for busy parents using our app as we continue to roll out our mobile platform across North America," said Keith Engelbert, STI chief technology officer. "We developed this app to meet the needs of parents, students and school staff who value the security of knowing their child is transported safely to and from school every day. SafeStop provides a level of safety and security that gives parents peace of mind.
Engelbert said SafeStop is available to parents, other independent school bus contractors and in house transportation systems run by school districts. "Unlike other web-based tracking products currently in use, SafeStop is native to multiple mobile operating systems and can be deployed with existing routing and tracking systems. We serve over 375 school districts throughout North America, so we designed our service to work with numerous routing and GPS platforms currently on the market."
In New York state, the company will deploy the app with Batavia City School District parents and school staff. The SafeStop app includes alerts such as traffic or weather delays and other useful day-to-day transportation information, and will soon feature additional tools for parents, including notifications of when a student has boarded or exited the bus, according to the company.
"A variety of ridership usage technologies will be deployed with select schools, including radio frequency identification cards that will log each student's entry and exit from the vehicle," Engelbert said. "This ridership information will provide many benefits to school officials and drivers, as well as parents using the app."