DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – An innovative new system that tracks a student’s bus ridership down to the second they board or get off the bus was implemented Wednesday at one Denton ISD school.
EP Rayzor is the first school in the district to use this new bus-monitoring program.
Wednesday, students who ride the bus were assigned and given an ID badge. Conor Foster, 9, was one of them.
He rides the bus to school and to home each day, but Wednesday afternoon, as he boarded, a new high tech system took notice.
“When it’s time to go on and off the bus, you keep it and you scan it,” he said. “If it turns green you can go, if it’s red you do it again.”
The access cards help the district keep track of who is on the bus and when they got on and off each day.
“That will provide a great bit of information for parents,” said Transportation Director Gene Holloway. “So if, indeed, Johnny has gotten on the bus and he offloaded at 3:30 at his bus stop and he was supposed to be home by 3:35 its 4 o’clock and he still isn’t home, you know where to start looking.”
The information is sent back to the Denton School Transportation headquarters, where dispatchers and routers monitor all of the district’s fleet and can look up a real-time passenger list for each bus if a worried parent or guardian can’t find their child and calls.
“This also will service us in a worst case scenario that there is an accident,” Holloway said, “and we can provide a passenger list to first responders.”
The system is not only intended to help the school district manage its 8,400 students who ride the bus each day, but hopefully give parents peace of mind.
“We want to ensure parents that we’re doing everything we can,” Holloway, said, “that when they’re under our charge they’re in the safest place they can be.”
For Conor, having his first ID badge makes him feel more grown up.
“I think it’s cool,” he said. “I was pretty excited because my sister has one and I get to be like her.”
The card only has the child’s bus number and a random encrypted identification number, so no personal student information is ever transmitted.
The district hopes to have the system in place at all of its schools by February.