Local school bus upgrades aim to make students safer and travel more efficient

School officials aim to make bus travel safer and more efficient.
School officials aim to make bus travel safer and more efficient.(Laura Bowen)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:47 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Wood County school buses will undergo multiple technological upgrades that will improve their efficiency and students’ safety.

WTAP has more on the plan which includes an app for parents.

School bus rides are about to get smoother in Wood County.

New technology will give school officials the ability to track students on buses.

Students simply log in and out when boarding and being dropped off.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Fling explained, “Every day a child gets on the wrong bus somewhere in the county and so with us being able to track where those students are and which bus they’re on, we’re not calling each other on the radio saying ‘Do you have Laura? Do you have Laura? Do you have Laura?’ and so we can get the child back to the right bus…,”

New tech abilities won’t just be for students and staff.

“Eventually there will be a parent app that will be released where parents can see the location of their bus and be notified when a bus is within a specific area for drop off or pick up,” Fling added.

Plus new tech upgrades will improve bus route efficiency as well as make it easier for bus operators to follow routes.

For now, bus operators are given routes to follow on paper maps.

“He’s got to try to read that route sheet, drive the bus, find the landmarks, do the locations, and pick up the kids. That’s scary. If you’ve never been on that route before, that’s a big deal.”

But, with upgrades, bus operators will use tablets for directions.

On top of all that, school protected WiFi will be added to 100 school buses.

Updates will be implemented bit by bit over time. The goal is for the parental app to be used by fall of next year, according Fling.

While the parent app and tablet directions for bus operators are brand new, other updates will simply polish existing systems like the technology that lets mechanics in on bus issues without having to physically be there.

All information above is attributed to school officials.