Bus Tracker app debuts this year

To every parent that has ever stood outside in the cold and rain waiting for a school bus that showed up 15 minutes late: Your wish has been granted.

Durham School Services, the company that Trumbull has contracted with to provide public school bus transportation, will roll out its Bus Tracker app in town this year. Transportation Coordinator Dawn Perkins said she and school staff were still testing and working out the bugs, but hoped to have the system up and running by the first day of school.

“We’re really, really thrilled to have this,” Perkins said. “It will provide a lot of peace of mind for parents to be able to track their child’s bus.”

To use the Bus Tracker application, which is free, parents need create a password-protected account, which includes their student’s school ID number. The school system will then link the student to a bus. Buses are tracked using GPS.

“When they log on, parents will actually see a street map with an icon that moves as the bus drives its route,” Perkins said. “In addition to visually seeing where the bus is, the app will also tell you how far away it is, so you’ll know the bus is six minutes away, five minutes, 30 seconds.”

The system is especially valuable on mornings where there is bad weather or delayed openings, she said.

“Parents have a schedule, and they’re trying to get the kids and themselves out in the morning,” she said.

In the afternoon, parents will know to the second when they need to meet their younger children at the bus stop, and for their older children they will know the moment the bus arrives at their stop.

“They can check from work and see that the bus made its stop,” Perkins said. “They will be able to see if the bus got there and dropped off.”

In the event that the driver is making the rounds in a different bus, a common occurrence when there are 90 buses that all need routine maintenance and periodic repairs, the driver simply logs in with the ID number of the bus he or she is driving, and the system will make the update.

Perkins said the system is nearly ready, and that parents will receive notifications and instructions for how to download and register as soon as it was operational.

“The hope is to be ready for day one,” she said.