Comfort or Crazy: GPS For Bus Riders

Comfort or Crazy: GPS For Bus Riders

Sarah Rae Smith
Sep 3, 2010

When I attended Elementary School, I was a "walker". We lived close enough to the school that I never had to deal with early morning buses and likewise my parents never worried that I made it onto the right bus and back home safely before they returned. A school district in Illinois is testing a new program that tracks your children and notifies the school when your kids board and exit the school's transit and bus system. Is it too far or would it provide peace for your family?

Maybe we've been watching too much crime TV lately (we swear Law and Order is on every channel at least once a day) but part of us rather likes the idea. Each child has a card that is scanned when entering and exiting the bus that sends a signal to someone at the school district's transportation center, allowing them to account for each child during every second they're in the schools custody. Although it sounds a little big brother in nature (because it totally does), there are some comforts that a system like this would bring.

If a child misses a stop while riding their bus, parents might be expecting them home earlier. Until now, no one would know the whereabouts of that child until the route was finished and the driver returned them to their proper stop or called someone to pick them up. Likewise, if they missed the bus in the morning but stood waiting on the corner for a bus that will never come and didn't make it to school on time, parents would be able to call the school to confirm what happened.

Although the set up is really only for the schools eyes, parents would be able to call in to check on their children in the case of an emergency and be able to track them down. We think it would be great to add one additional step of possibly text messaging parents when their children swiped their card (which they're aiming to do within the next year). It would either cut out the worry for all parties involved, or it would generate a ridiculous amount of phone calls from parents waiting for a text message who don't know a bus is running late or things are slightly off track for the morning. Although if you worked late or early, knowing your little one made it to the bus or back home safely would be a huge comfort that you otherwise wouldn't receive.

What do you think about the idea? How would it affect your family and it's daily routines? Would it be a comfort or does it border on crazy? You can read the full story at the Chicago Tribune.

(Image by Flickr member Heather Elias licensed for use under Creative Commons.)

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