Toronto Student Transportation Group is teaming up with video and data solutions provider Gatekeeper Systems Inc. and United Safety and Survivability Corp., a provider of child safety and air purification solutions, to launch a new school bus safety program.
The pilot program includes the integration of both Gatekeeper and United Safety’s technologies on designated school buses for Wheelchair Accessible Transit, a consortium member and school bus contractor for Toronto Student Transportation Group, according to a news release from Gatekeeper.
The buses will be equipped with Gatekeeper’s internal and stop-arm cameras, and one of the buses will be outfitted with the company’s 360-degree view camera system, which is designed to capture any events that occur outside of the school bus, Patricia Turner, Gatekeeper's territory manager for eastern Canada, told School Bus Fleet.
In addition to the camera systems, the buses will feature United Safety’s Child Check Mate EP2 Plus System, which is designed to ensure all students have safely disembarked the vehicle and to act as an after-hours safeguard to protect against the possibility of theft or bus intruders, Kaitlynne Monaghan, the company’s manager of business development, told SBF.
United Safety’s Active Air Purification System, which seeks to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, will also be installed on the buses.
“The buses will run on [Wheelchair Accessible Transit’s] routes throughout the city and the pilot will be running for approximately three to six months,” Turner says.
As schools in Toronto look to reopen in the coming weeks, she adds that Toronto Student Transportation Group will be able to experience the full benefits and analyze the data of the pilot program with Gatekeeper and United Safety.
Those benefits, according to Heather Urquhart, Gatekeeper’s director of marketing, are to provide a safer environment for students by using video to manage incidents such as bullying on the bus or to capture motorists who illegally pass the bus when the stop arm is deployed.
“The Toronto Student Transportation Group is fortunate to work with partners who are invested in providing technologies that will further support student safety while using the school bus,” said Kevin Hodgkinson, general manager of Toronto Student Transportation Group, in Gatekeeper’s news release.
The Toronto Student Transportation Group is an initiative between the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Toronto District School Board, whose joint goal is to ensure the health and safety of students through various modes of transportation and to help families make informed decisions regarding their school transportation choices, according to Gatekeeper.
The transportation consortium, which includes a total of seven school bus contractors, reportedly uses over 1,800 school buses to transport more than 50,000 students every day.