Why Should I Implement A School Bus Pass System?
published on April 19, 2013 by Sonia Mastros
The responsibility that comes from running a school bus system is enormous. Every day, hundreds or thousands of parents trust you with the single most precious thing in their lives, believing that you'll get their children to and from school without incident. And, on the whole, this is what happens.
Yet, problems do arise. Children sometimes get on the wrong bus. Or they get off at the wrong stop. Or they change their plans without telling anyone else about it, like deciding to ride to a friend's house instead. Whenever a child becomes “lost,” even if they're likely in no actual danger, it becomes a serious issue that can panic parents and administrators alike.
Today, there's a new way of helping ensure every student gets on the right bus, and you don't lose track of them: a school bus pass system. These little cards, which cost only a few pennies a year, can save you a world of headaches, and save your districts' parents a lot of worry.
Let's look at how they work.
How A School Bus Pass System Protects Your Students
A school bus pass is something like a credit card. It's generally laminated, and contains information on the face that's relevant to each student's transportation needs. It'll have their picture, the school year it covers, as well as information on which buses they have to use. If a student ever gets confused, they have the card telling them which bus they need to get on. THe School bus driver can also use the card to confirm they belong on their bus.
That's useful enough, but there's more! Like a credit card, the back of the school bus pass will contain a barcode or magnetic swipe strip that's tied to a unique ID number. These can be used for everything from giving upper classmen access to restricted areas of the school, to being used for school lunch purchases. If you charge for your bus services, this is especially useful.
However, the real key to the power of these systems lies in the RFID chip embedded within it. This chip – which only transmits an identification number – allows you to know instantly when a child has gotten onto a bus, and when they've gotten off. This virtually eliminates doubt over where and when a student has gotten onto a bus. It's logged, and can be discovered with a few mouse clicks.
It's also important to note at this point that these cards contain NO private information on your students. The most information someone could discover from a lost card is which bus route a student uses.
Uses For Your New School Bus Pass System
Being able to track your bus usage in this way gives you a lot of power to help keep your students safe:
Drivers can check ID cards to verify each student as they board.
Improve and justify your attendance rates and state funding easily!
The system can alert drivers and transportation staff if a student is getting off at the wrong stop
Students who become lost can often be found through RFID tracking.
“Smart” systems can send messages to parents, letting them know their child's ETA.
Quickly respond to emergency situations, should they occur.
Create and send out mailings to parents with their students' route information.
Track your bus passenger counts quickly and easily via automated reports.
Even though there's still some controversy surrounding the use of RFID systems like this, the truth is, it provides far more real-world benefits than any other bus tracking system. Fewer misplaced students mean fewer endangered students, as well as fewer worried parents.
When combined with the extra features, like their ability to be used as security badges, these school bus pass systems give you a powerful tool to keep your students safe and where they need to be at all times!