Local News

Plainfield School District 202 introduces bus tracking app for parents

'This new app will let parents see where their buses are in real time,' district official said

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Elementary school students step off their bus Aug. 13, 2015, before the first day of school at Creekside Elementary School in Plainfield.[]

PLAINFIELD – Plainfield School District 202 will debut a new mobile app April 23 to provide parents with real-time access to the locations of their children’s school buses.

The app comes after a year of work between the district’s transportation and technology departments and First Student, District 202’s general education transportation contractor, according to a news release from the district.

“Sometimes buses are a few minutes late – especially during bad weather,” said Ellen Theobald, District 202 transportation director. “This new app will let parents see where their buses are in real time.”

District 202 contends with several transportation challenges because of its size, numerous grade-level train intersections and condensed, “triple-tier” schedule, according to the release.

The triple-tier system was implemented during the recession to save money. The system reduces transportation costs by more than $1 million a year but leaves little time for delays.

“We always tell parents that if traffic is slow for you, it is even slower for the buses, which have to stop at every train track and slowly maneuver in and out of neighborhoods,” Theobald said.

When buses are late now, parents must call the transportation department or bus company to try to figure out when buses are arriving. The new app will use GPS to inform parents of their children’s exact location and approximately when the bus will arrive.

Databases have been created for each bus route and corresponding list of riders. These databases are updated nightly.

Parents also will be able to request special email or text notifications to alert them when their buses are a certain distance from their stops.

District 202 parents will receive more information about setting up the app directly from the district and its schools.