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Quarter of district families using bus app

Dave Gymburch
Staff writer
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Posted 1/18/20

The online boardings for using a new bus-tracking software system that the Rome school district launched in September have so far included about 25% of district families. While the participation rate …

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Quarter of district families using bus app

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The online boardings for using a new bus-tracking software system that the Rome school district launched in September have so far included about 25% of district families.

While the participation rate “could be higher,” the “people we’ve talked to” about the mobile application “love it,” district Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Management Robert Mezza Jr. told the Board of Education last week.

The GPS (global positioning system) mapping system, called Here Comes the Bus, can help track such details as bus locations and arrivals.

The free application is being used by about 1,045 school district families involving about 1,400 students, reflecting an approximately “25% rate” of participation, said Mezza. He noted after the board meeting that regarding specifics on which features of the system are being used by families, “we can’t monitor what the people are doing on the app, just that they have signed up” to use it.

The district hopes to increase the numbers of families using the system perhaps through such steps as online postings and offering information at school events, Mezza observed. He pointed out that “any time parents call us” with questions about their child’s bus that can be addressed by the system, the district aims to make sure they are aware of its availability.

School district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said in his online blog this week that “as mentioned in the fall, one of the best new features we have available this year “ is the Here Comes the Bus system. “Thanks to the technology available with GPS navigation, you can now follow your child’s bus from the convenience of your home or smart phone....”

The school district has said that services available for parents using the Here Comes the Bus app including getting real-time information on the exact location of their child’s bus; tracking multiple buses if their children don’t all ride the same bus; knowing exactly when children arrive at school, or at home.

The system can help provide parents with more information in such instances as when a bus is running late or if parents want to know the current location of a bus on a given route, Mezza said.

“It’s nice app...a good app,” Mezza commented.

More information for parents about the program, including how to download the app and register for it, is at romecsd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=695465&pageId=13035845 online.

The system is powered by software from the Synovia Solutions company, the district has said. Blake told the Board of Education last August about the new tracking software being rolled out for the Birnie Bus company, which transports the majority of Rome district students who are bused, and also for buses owned by the district. About 4,000 of the district’s students use buses. Overall enrollment included 5,348 students in grades K-12 as of the opening of school last September.

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