GPS To Improve School Bus Fleet

News
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 8:30am

Virginia district will track bus routes and alert parents to delays.

One Virginia school district is going high-tech to keep better tabs on school buses.

The Prince George school system has the green light to purchase and install GPS units on county school buses.

The move is expected to help the school district better monitor and protect your child during transport.

More than 6,000 Prince George students ride the school bus daily.

"If I'm late delivering a child they used to have to call me and ask where I was at and what time will I get to little Johnny's house. Now, they don't have to call me because they can look at the GPS and tell," says bus driver Gene Gaskins.

The school district is shelling out $65,000 for the devices and an additional $12,000 a year to maintain the system.

"This is going to allow us to track our buses. We'll know where they are at all times -- whether they're on their route if they've strayed -- gotten lost and gotten off a route -- such as a substitute," said Director of Transportation, Ronald Rhodes.

The technology will also alert the district if a bus is having a mechanical issue.

An alert will also be sent if a driver is driving too fast.

"It will notify us as soon as the bus breaks the speed limit in any given area. Let's say a subdivision is 25 miles per hour - if they exceed that limit we'll know," said Rhodes.

Once installed, the GPS units will be hard wired to the buses.

The devices will even note if a driver opens the door at a given stop.

"It's all about safety. Yes, we trust our drivers but we're trying to take the human error out of this -- any human problems we could have," said Rhodes.

As for Gaskins, he doesn't mind being tracked.

In fact, he welcomes the technology onboard his bus.

"If you do your job and do it right, you don't care what they have," said Gaskins.

All Prince George County school buses should be equipped with those GPS units by late October.
 

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