Bus Tracking System Gives Parents Peace of Mind

Earlier this school year, the transportation department of the Cherokee County School District (CCSD) began testing the Versatrans My Stop system with selected parents.

On March 5, the system was expanded to include Arnold Mill Elementary, Johnston Elementary and Mill Creek Middle schools. The goal is to expand access to the system to all parents of Cherokee County students at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

My Stop offers parents the ability to track their child’s school bus through the school district’s website or the Versatrans My Stop mobile app. The GPS-based system shows parents the location of their child’s bus on a map of its route for 15 minutes prior to its scheduled arrival at the bus stop, both in the morning and in the afternoon. The system also alerts parents as to how many minutes away the bus is from the stop, which provides an even more accurate report than the map image.

“Providing real-time bus information to parents is an important service we have worked toward for the past two years,” Superintendent of Schools Brian V. Hightower said. “Knowing whether a bus is on schedule gives parents the option of keeping their children indoors as long as possible on cold mornings and eliminates the worry that comes with not knowing where the bus is when it’s running late. We appreciate the work our transportation department and office of school operations have put into this project to better serve our students and families.”

Schools will have access to an “arrival board” online, similar to screens at airports, so staff members will have complete and accurate information about all buses. The My Stop system will improve efficiency by providing parents with the most timely information possible, and by eliminating the need for school staff to prepare and send notifications to parents if a bus is delayed.

Only parents will have access to the route for their child’s home address, and access to the system’s tracking information is limited to the 15-minute window before their child is scheduled to be picked up from the stop in the morning or dropped off at the stop in the afternoon. Access to accounts only can be set up by parents who have their child’s student ID number. Only parents with children at one of the three pilot schools were given access to the system beginning March 1, and they are able to see information for their children’s routes at those schools.

Parents of children who attend the pilot schools have been given additional information and can contact the office of their child’s school with questions. More information will be shared with all parents prior to the start of next school year.

Provided by the Cherokee County School District

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What parents have to say about the new system:

“We especially appreciate the My Stop app on cold or rainy mornings, so that we are not outside for too long in poor weather. Also, since we have young children, the app helps us to know when the bus will arrive in the afternoon, so we can be outside.”

— Chris Saxon
CCSD Supervisor of Technology Field Services

“As a parent of a special needs middle school student, I find it can be difficult to keep them (or any middle school student, for that matter) focused and on task to get them to the bus stop in a timely fashion. This app is a visual reminder for them to keep on track and get them out the door. This has helped my child develop the skills to manage their time more effectively.”

— Eric Garland
CCSD Transportation Specialist

“We are unable to see the bus stop from our house. My son has been testing this application since the beginning of the school year, and he has never missed the bus. My Stop was able to cut his wait time on a day when there was a substitute bus driver. We were able to see the number of the substitute bus and get an estimated time of arrival to our bus stop. Having the ability to get this information is especially good on rainy and cold school days.”

— Chris Blalock
CCSD Transportation Specialist

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