Bus tracking system could keep Penn-Harris-Madison students safer, school says

Parents of Penn-Harris-Madison students can create an account and see the bus driving toward their house in real time.

Posted on Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

OSCEOLA — The days of standing on the curb waiting for the bus could be over for Penn-Harris-Madison students.

Starting this year, all PHM buses have GPS transmitters.

Parents who log in and create an account can see, in real time, when their child’s bus has entered their neighborhood and is heading toward their house.

“In the old days, I used to look down the road and check for headlights to see if the bus was coming,” Jill Spencer, spokeswoman for the school district said. “Now, things are more modern and people can look on their computers to see when the bus is coming.”

A mobile app is expected this fall.

“And I expect that will be the real breakthrough, when parents can use their phone to see the bus coming,” Spencer added.

The GPS system is intended to help parents who may wonder whether the bus is delayed on bad-weather days.

One catch is that parents won’t be able to see where their child’s bus is at all times — just when it gets into the pre-set “zone” near their house.

District transportation officials, on the other hand, will be able to see where every bus is at all times, and the GPS system even offers information about how fast the buses are traveling and whether they are idling.

Still, GPS will make catching the bus more convenient and safer for students, Spencer said, because students who consult the GPS are less likely to miss the bus or spend too much time waiting outside in inclement weather.

Parents who want to create an account can enter their PHM account number, child’s last name and student ID at parent.silverlining.synovia.com.

The GPS system cost $201,960 for five years and was paid for out the district’s transportation operating fund.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

Recommended for You

Back to top ^