WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The days of wondering where your child’s school bus is are coming to an end, at least if you live in Winston-Salem or Forsyth County.
Today, if your child’s bus is delayed or in an accident, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools transportation department uses GPS tracking to figure out where the bus is and where it’s been.
“It tells us everything down to the second,” said Angela Palmer, dispatcher for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools system.
Many times, when there are delays, dispatchers within the department end up fielding phone calls from concerned parents.
“We get fussed at by parents and most of it’s due to frustration,” Palmer said.
Many times, the phone calls come in while the dispatchers are trying to coordinate with drivers, schools and supervisors.
“Sometimes we get pretty hectic,” Palmer said.
Starting the next school year, parents will no longer have to call in to see where their child’s bus is. Thanks to an app called “Here Comes the Bus,” they’ll be able to see for themselves.
“The parents will be able to track when the bus arrives at their house; when the bus arrives at the school,” said Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Transportation Director Darrell Taylor.
This will also come in handy when there are things like inclement weather. Parents will be able to set parameters, for example, from two miles to 500 feet. Therefore, when a bus is getting close, they will get an alert. In other words, no more waiting outside in the rain for the bus to show.
“Their phone will beep whenever it gets within the range that the parents have set it on and they’ll be ready to go out the door,” Taylor said.
Parents will learn about the app at all upcoming open houses, and it will cost about $25 to $30 a year to use.