GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- A new device on Guilford County Schools buses will help parents better track where their child's bus is. A tablet at the front of the bus will allow the district to get minute-by-minute updates.
The assistant director for the district's transportation department said Tuesday that starting this year, parents will be able to call and get the exact location.
Curtis Stacey said Guilford County Schools plans to expand the technology, eventually pairing the tablets with an app called "Here Comes the Bus."
“They can actually pull their child’s bus number up and see where that bus number is,” Stacey said.
He explained that parents would be able to monitor the location from their smartphone.
“Instead of having their child go out and wait 15-20 minutes longer than they have to, they would be able to pull up the app on their phone and see exactly when the bus would arrive and where the bus is,” he said.
Stacey said that the tracking will be a useful tool as the district deals with a driver shortage. As of Tuesday, Guilford County Schools still hoped to hire 63 drivers.
He said the district is looking to recruit college students and retirees to help supplement the current number of drivers. Stacey added that they have a plan in place as the school year starts.
"We’ve been in this shortage for several years now, unfortunately,” Stacey said. "We do have dedicated drivers who are always willing to help out and run extra routes or do double routes to make sure all the kids are picked up.”
Guilford County Schools plans to begin testing the app this fall and roll out the full version later this school year.
Some buses will also be testing scanners, where students swipe in to help monitor who gets on and off the bus at stops.