New Boardman school district bus-tracking app makes transportation smoother for parents and students


New app making commutes easier for Boardman parents, students

By Bruce Walton

bwalton@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Mornings and afternoons are extremely hectic for Connie Spin, a mother of four children who all take the bus to and from school.

Waiting for the bus was stressful, she said, until the school district provided a new app to make organizing for school transportation a little smoother.

The Boardman Local School District launched “Here Comes The Bus” on Monday, a free school bus-tracking application that allows parents and students to track a bus’s location from their smartphone, tablet or computer in real-time. Each of Boardman’s 52 buses are equipped with a GPS tracker that the school district has been testing with parents and staff.

Spin, one of the several parents used to test the app for about a month, said it has eased the stress of getting kids on the bus and waiting for them to come home on time.

“I can open up the door and I can sit on the couch and wait,” she said. “Before, I would have to stand at the door and keep looking. Now I know exactly when the bus is coming down the street.”

Users also can adjust an entry zone on their map, in which they receive an email or alert when the bus enters that zone.

District superintendent Tim Saxton said the app is a welcome addition to the provided services to minimize stress for students and their families about getting to or leaving school.

A parent’s “whole morning and afternoon can be organized when that bus is coming and when that child is being dropped off,” he said. “With road conditions and weather conditions, that time can vary and we can make your life a little bit easier, a little more organized and efficient if they know exactly when that bus is coming.”

Wayne Finnie, who has worked as a district bus driver for about 15 years, said the parents he’s spoken to love the app and that it makes waiting easier when he has a complicated route.

“In my area, I got traffic lights, heavy traffic, and I go to Canfield [school district] to pick one kid up, so I can’t be there at the same time every day,” he said.

Saxton said the school district was able to afford the app through reinvesting the money that it saved from receiving lower electrical and natural gas utility rates.

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