GPS added to school buses

Published 7:09 pm Saturday, September 5, 2015

GPS systems are to be put into each of the Suffolk public school's  buses

GPS systems are to be put into each of the Suffolk public school’s buses.

Suffolk Public Schools plans to address the problem of late buses, in part, with the addition of GPS systems to its fleet this year. But the timetable for implementation is still being worked out.

“We’re in better shape this school year,” school division spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said about a staggered school bell schedule that had many students arriving chronically late to class and even later back at home in the afternoon.

All bus driver positions have been filled, except for some of the substitute bus driver positions, she said, which means the transportation system will not be relying as much on drivers doing double duty among multiple schools this year.

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School system officials also hope the new GPS units will help address the transportation situation parents have been concerned with during the past couple of years. While the plan isn’t a change in bell times, it is a way school officials can collect data on the time it takes for each student to be transported to and from school. School officials will be able to respond quicker to late buses, Bradshaw said.

“They’ll be able to know where all the buses are at any given moment,” she said. The systems are designed to determine where a bus is located, the speed at which the bus is driving and the direction it is headed.

If a bus is late, for example, and the driver has not called to let anyone know, school officials will be able to see where the bus is and contact the driver to address the situation.

Officials hope that by collecting this data, they will be able to not just improve the system this year, but also figure out what the issues are so they can further address them next year.

The GPS systems are to be put into each of the city’s school buses. The cost of implementation across 203 buses is approximately $200,000.

Parents and students should be sure to take a look at this year’s bus routes listed on the Suffolk Public School’s website. Anyone with a concern about their child’s route can fill out the transportation concern form also located on the website.