New tool enhances Youngstown school bus transportation


Youngstown City School District families have another tool to monitor their children’s transportation to and from school.

This week, the district will debut the Z Pass. It’s a system that tracks when each student enters and exits a school bus. Each student will get a key card to wear in a lanyard around his or her neck. Every time he or she gets on or off the school bus, he or she will scan the card across a Z pass card reader.

That will record the time, date and location of each entrance and exit.

“This is another layer of safety and security for our students,” said Colleen Murphy-Penk, the city schools' chief of transportation. “We -- as well as parents -- will be able to see when and where a student boards or gets off of the school bus.”

In cases of emergency, the system will enable the transportation department to locate passengers quickly.,Murphy-Penk said the system also will enable the department to analyze ridership data.

The Z Pass is the latest technological advancement deployed this year in the transportation department to help parents.

“We already have the My Stop app,” said CEO Krish Mohip. “That allows parents to pinpoint a time when the bus will pick up or drop off their children. It cuts down on the amount of time children are outside in the cold because their parents can keep them inside where it’s warm and dry right up until the bus arrives. Z Pass goes even further in providing information to families.”

The first group of Z Passes will debut at Harding, Kirkmere and Wilson elementary schools and Youngstown Early College, likely early this week. Murphy-Penk expects the remainder of the passes to be programmed and distributed within the next two weeks.

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