Several weeks ago, we told you about Here Comes the Bus®, a brand new website and mobile
app that enables parents and caregivers to view the real-time location of their child’s school bus using a computer, tablet or smartphone.
At the time, Synovia Solutions had just begun a two-month pilot program involving 17 school districts spread across seven states. Now that the pilot has reached the halfway point, we wanted to take a moment to share some information on the program, as well as feedback provided by a few of our participating districts.
For the latest, we first sat down with Elizabeth James, Director of Product Strategy for Here Comes the Bus.
What would you say is the main objective of the pilot program?
To take the feedback we receive from parents and administrators and use it to identify areas that need to be improved before the official rollout later this summer. We want to work out any issues before Here Comes the Bus is officially made available to school districts nationwide.
How are you working to collect feedback from participants?
Toward the end of the pilot period, we will be distributing surveys to parents and administrators in select schools. Their responses will help us understand what is working, what isn’t, and what features and functionality we need to develop to make Here Comes the Bus even better. These surveys will also address our support model and let us know if our support team is meeting the needs of both parents and transportation officials.
From there, we will take everything we’ve gathered and use it to make any necessary updates before Here Comes the Bus debuts at the North American School Bus EXPO Conference and Trade Show (STN EXPO), taking place July 25-29 in Reno, Nevada.
Are there particular features associated with Here Comes the Bus that you’ve received more feedback on than others?
Parents love the push notifications. They really enjoy the convenience of being able to receive an alert when the bus is near.
Just this morning, one of the Transportation Directors involved in our pilot program told me about a mother that has three children enrolled in his district – one in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school. She heads to work before her children board the school bus, and uses the push notifications to inform her when her children’s buses arrive. She told the Transportation Director that ever since Here Comes the Bus became available, she feels more confident knowing that her children haven’t missed the bus and are on their way to school.
What can attendees expect when Here Comes the Bus debuts at the STN Expo?
Attendees who stop by our display (#221) will have the chance to directly interact with Here Comes the Bus and have all of their questions answered by our experts. It will be an excellent opportunity for those interested in Here Comes the Bus to speak with individuals who know the technology inside and out, so they can get a real sense of whether or not the product will work for their district.
Next, we spoke with Mark Anderson, Transportation Director for the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township in Indianapolis (IN), which is currently participating in the Here Comes the Bus pilot program.
What kind of immediate difference has Here Comes the Bus made as it relates to your transportation department?
The number of calls from parents asking about the location of their child’s bus has been greatly reduced. When we do receive calls, our response is always, "Have you signed up for Here Comes the Bus?" It has been a great tool for our parents.
What kind of feedback have you received from parents and staff?
One mother told me she loves Here Comes the Bus since she works and can text her children when the bus is near, and said the system was well worth the investment.
Have parents or administrators at other districts contacted you to find out more about Here Comes the Bus?
Two nearby districts have reached out to me recently to learn more. One paid me a visit so that they could see Here Comes the Bus in action, while the other gave me a call to discuss the technology and obtain my feedback.
Another pilot program participant, John Payne, Transportation Information Systems Analyst for Newport News Public Schools (VA), shared the following message he received from a parent who has been using Here Comes the Bus:
“I am loving ‘Here Comes the Bus.’ It has been amazing for rainy days like yesterday. I was able to tell my daughter when to leave for the bus so she wasn't waiting outside for so long. Outstanding choice!'"
More Media Coverage of Here Comes the Bus
To learn more, including how to implement Here Comes the Bus in your district this upcoming school year, call Synovia Solutions toll-free at 1-877-796-6842 or click the icon below.
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