Visalia Unified School District introduces app allowing parents to track their student on the bus
From KFSN-TV Fresno / By Jessica Harrington / Thursday, August 31, 2023
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) — A South Valley school district is giving parents peace of mind while their students are on the bus.
This school year, each time students step up on the bus in the Visalia Unified School District (CA), they’ll make a quick stop to check in.
The tap of their student identification card sends information to a system called ‘Transfinder’, which is the overall transportation system that routes each bus.
Now, VUSD’s Chief Operations Officer Erik Kehrer says parents can connect to that information through an app called ‘Stopfinder.’
“The app will be able to show where the students are on their route, how long until they’re going to be dropped off,” Kehrer said.
Each time they check in, the bus driver will also be watching their tablet to ensure all of the students who get on are on the correct route.
A notice pops up if a student gets on the wrong bus.
Any important notices or changes can be sent directly to parents.
“We can also push out messages to parents. They can be targeted messages, they can go out to large groups to say ‘Bus route three is going to be late, 20 minutes late’ or ‘It’s a foggy day schedule for all of VUSD’, or things like that,” Kehrer said.
Parents like Somer Collum whose son, Wyatt, typically rides the bus for sporting events, says the app adds another layer of security and gives her peace of mind.
“I know that there’s nobody else on that bus that shouldn’t be,” Collum.
In addition to safety, parents say this is also a way they can better plan their busy lives.
“Knowing where the bus is, so I can make sure I’m where I need to be for each of my children at the right time is a huge, huge element of convenience,” Collum said.
Students will scan again when they get off the bus so there’s no guesswork about where they are along the route.
The district says parents should make sure their contact information is correct in the parent portal so they can take advantage of the app.