Greater Clark County Schools use GPS bus tracking

Greater Clark County Schools use GPS bus tracking
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT
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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - One of the changes Superintendent Marty Pollio promised to make is adding GPS tracking to all Jefferson County Public Schools buses. The district said it’s partnering with T-Mobile and an education tech company to make the project a reality.

Greater Clark County Schools already used an online platform to create its bus routes.

After upgrading the GPS units in its buses, the district also paid for access to the app, allowing school leaders and parents to see where buses are in real time.

“Let’s say the bus is going through and there’s a road closure or if there’s traffic, it will automatically update that stop time,” said Daniel Borders, Greater Clark County Schools Transportation Director.

Borders explained adding the Ride360 app to its routing software cost the district $4,500. But he said it has paid dividends providing peace of mind.

“With the parents accessing the app, that’s reduced the number of people we’ve had to have in the office answering phones because every parent using that app is one less phone call we get,” Borders said.

The district’s routing software had the capability already several years ago. But the district chose a cheaper software provider which required new GPS units for each bus. Borders said retrofitting the buses wasn’t hard, 15 minutes each, but it took six months for mechanics to get every bus upgraded to the new GPS unit.

“On top of their regular duties, maintenance, tire changes, things like that,” Borders said.

Parents only need to download the Ride360 app to their smart phones, create an account, and add their student to the profile. The district has already uploaded the route and bus assignments it created during the summer. The Ride360 app uses the same software the district uses to manage its routes.

“The blue is the time the student needs to be at the stop and the red is when they get to school,” Borders said.

Parents and district leaders can also see a live video feed from the bus. Borders said the only thing they don’t rely on is the software to build the routes. He said a human touch is needed to avoid sending buses down roads they can’t drive on or pickup students in dangerous spots.

“A lot of times what looks good behind the screen doesn’t look good behind the wheel of a 40-foot bus,” Borders said.

JCPS did not say Tuesday when its bus tracking will be live and ready to go.