Picayune schools to implement system to monitor buses in real-time

During their Thursday meeting, the Picayune School Board of Trustees approved an agreement between the district and UnME2, Inc. for a system named SpotMyBus which will allow the district to track the path and location buses on a real-time basis.

According to Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell, the district tried the system out on two buses and were very happy with the results.

(L-R) Board President Frank Ford, members Edward Stubbs, David Mooneyhan

Harrell told the board, “This will allow us to know where the buses are at all times them they are on the route. If a bus driver skips a stop (on their route), it will show what time they were at a stop.” Superintendent Dean Shaw added, “We can also monitor the speed of the buses.”

The SpotMyBus system will store the information which will allow the district to go back and review previous information as well. Along with the speed monitoring that Shaw noted, SpotMyBus can identify buses that are wasting fuel by staying in once place while continuing to run the engine (idling).

According to the SpotMyBus website, the system has the ability to instantly locate any bus in the fleet on a monitor or tablet allowing the district to know exactly when each stop occurred, see average arrival time at each stop, and log variability. It will allow the district to see any bus or entire fleet on map in real time, and see the complete route of any bus, on any day, for any period. SpotMyBus identifies and shows buses that are running behind schedule.

SpotMyBus provides a GPS tracker for each bus, the cellular data service so the trackers can send location information to the company’s data servers, and the SpotMyBus software. The system, according to the SpotMyBus documentation, only requires the district and users to have access to a web browser.

SpotMyBus includes an app for parents & students. The system, with the download of an app to a smartphone by a parent/student, has the capability to allow parents/students to track the buses and tells them when their school bus will arrive and notifies them when their bus is near which can significantly reduce calls from parents asking, "Where's my bus?".

The board approved the request to purchase the system at a cost of $11,000.00 for one year. Lisa Persick, District Finance Director, said the district only wanted to buy the system for one year at this time due to the reduction in state funding.

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