District 220 approves purchase of school bus tracking app

  • Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members Tuesday night approved the purchase of a system that will include a free school bus tracking app for parents. District 220 contracts for bus service from Barrington Transportation Co.

    Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members Tuesday night approved the purchase of a system that will include a free school bus tracking app for parents. District 220 contracts for bus service from Barrington Transportation Co. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/18/2018 4:08 PM

Barrington Area Unit District 220 parents will have an opportunity to keep track of their children's buses beginning next school year through a free app.

The Ride 360 bus tracking app is part of a system District 220 board members purchased Tuesday night from Texas-based Tyler Technologies Inc. Tyler also will provide GPS for all school buses, driver tablets, telemetric accessories and project management.

 

While the purchase price is $382,446 and annual support costs $108,156, district officials expect to pay much less as a result of state reimbursements. The reimbursements are projected to bring the system cost down to $158,366 and annual support to $64,716.

Tyler's Ride 360 app, which requires a password, should be available to parents for Android, Apple iOS and online by Aug. 20, officials said.

"The functionality on this (app) is just going to be outstanding," District 220 board President Brian Battle said. "I can't wait for parents to be able to have on their devices -- and kids -- an accurate estimation of when the bus will arrive at a stop."

Ride 360 was deemed the best of three tracking apps tested on four buses during the current academic season, according to a memo from Director of Student Information June Nilles and Tim Neubauer, the assistant superintendent of business services. Ease of use for parents and accuracy of bus arrival estimates were among the criteria judged.

Drivers will use mounted tablets that display routes and provide turn-by-turn audio directions. Images of students who should be boarding a bus will be shown to the driver at each stop.

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Another feature on the tablet will be automatic rerouting in the event of a crash or unexpected road closure.

In addition to supporting the Ride 360 parent app, Tyler's GPS will provide bus engine diagnostics and other information to Barrington Transportation Co., which holds the busing contract in District 220.

Battle said the GPS data may afford District 220 an opportunity to gain accurate bus ridership information, which could lead to a better use of routes.

Other suburban school systems with bus tracking apps for parents include Palatine Township Elementary District 15, which switched from Here Comes the Bus to Tyler's My Stop for the 2017-18 school year.

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