(WXYZ) — How long do you or your child wait at the bus stop? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Longer in the rain and snow?
Wayne-Westland Community Schools is revolutionizing the wait.
New technology is keeping parents more connected than ever, giving them the ability to see what the district sees, the exact location of their child's school bus.
That distinctive sound of air brakes engaging and the door opening ... you know it well if you've ever ridden a bus or have a child that does. It's the sound that triggers a sigh of relief if you've been waiting for awhile or panic if you are still a block away.
“We just had to guess. I would get here at the same time every day, sometimes waiting longer or sometimes not,” says Melanie Grissom, mother of a fourth grader and an almost kindergartner.
Grissom doesn’t have to guess anymore.
Wayne-Westland Community Schools recently launched the "Here Comes the Bus" app so parents of the district's 8,000 bus riders can track their child’s bus in real time, and know exactly when it will arrive.
“My husband and I both work full time, so anything that saves us time, we are for," says Grissom.
Wayne-Westland Community Schools Director of Transportation Rhonda Lyons worked with IT to integrate the district's current information system with the app.
“We are the first district in the state of Michigan to be able to do this with our current routing software,” says Lyons.
This makes communicating any changes with parents seamless! The district can enter new bus numbers or delays in their bus routing software and parents with children on that route will be alerted through the app.
"I think it's a great safety tool and a user friendly tool for our parents,” says Lyons.
It also means that the map, usually mailed out to everyone every year with all the bus routes and all the bus stops, is a thing of the past. By logging into “Here Comes the Bus” with the school code and individual student ID, parents can see their child’s bus route and follow the bus in real time. Once their child boards the bus, they can track its movement.
“It will only allow them to track their student, so that's a really great safety feature, also,” says Lyons.
If you have multiple children, you can track multiple routes.
"I am definitely using it every day," says Grissom.
On those busy mornings when even seconds count, the app helps her maximize every minute.
"Knowing exactly when the bus is going to be here, knowing when she gets to school, giving us that peace of mind, also,” says Grissom.
The app was in a pilot testing phase and just launched district wide a few weeks ago.
Wayne Westland Community Schools has 8,000 students riding the bus every day, they are hoping to get all parents using the “Here Comes the Bus” app by next year.