Higley Unified School District first in AZ to adopt bus tracking app for students, parents

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(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo)
(Source: Here Comes the Bus via Facebook) (Source: Here Comes the Bus via Facebook)
(Source: Higley Unified School District) (Source: Higley Unified School District)

The Higley Unified School District is giving its students and their parents a way to track school buses in real time.

The Here Comes the Bus app works on computers, tablets and smartphones, and HUSD is the first district in the state to use it. 

Students can use the app or their bus pass card to scan on and off of their buses. Each scan send an alert to their parents' cell phones, letting them know when they've been picked up, and when they've arrived. 

It also lets parents track the bus to save time waiting at their child's stop, and tells them if the bus is running late.

"Every afternoon we transport close to 3,000 on and off the buses and it's hard to keep track of which student is going where, some go home with friends, some go to babysitters houses," said Josh Crosby, Transportation Director for HUSD. 

The district already had the hardware, it installed GPS units in all of its buses about two years ago.

It just recently coupled it with the software needed to share this information with parents.

"Everyone has smart phones so it just puts it right at their fingertips," said Crosby.

[PDF: Here Comes the Bus app instructions from Higley Unified School District]

For parents, it's about peace of mind.

 "She's and eight grader, she doesn't always remember to call me or she gets involved when she walks in the door putting her stuff down and that way I at least know she made it on the bus, she made it off the bus and she should be at the house," said parent Aimee Mackenzie.  

The app is free for parents. It costs HUSD about $70 a month. 

Designed by Synovia Solutions, which specializes in fleet tracking, the app can send customized text and email alerts based on the location of a bus, which is tracked by GPS. It also can track multiple buses.

It's not just parents and students who benefit.

"Drivers also benefit from the system when they receive direct feedback on whether or not a student is authorized to board a bus," according to HUSD.

“The HUSD Transportation office is able to monitor the location, speed and status of all buses, including the ability to remotely view engine diagnostics and idle time, saving the district money,” Higley’s Director of Transportation Josh Crosby said.

The HearCometheBus.com FAQ page addresses the questions of security, saying Here Comes the Bus is “just like a bank or online store.”

The app, which is free for parents and students to use, is available both in the App Store and Google Play.

If you have questions about the Here Comes the Bus app, you can email HCTB@husd.org.

HUSD is comprised of 13 schools serving children from kindergarten through high school.

[PDF: Here Comes the Bus app instructions from Higley Unified School District]

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