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Pasco school buses add GPS tracking

Officials won't have to ask drivers for location
Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 27, 2016
There are 440 buses shuttling about 37,000 students in Pasco County. They do it twice a day.
 
Now school officials will be able to watch them on a computer screen.
 
A yellow triangle on the screen is bus #416 driving on Massachusetts Avenue in New Port Richey.
 
“The bus is here, and it’s traveling in this direction,” said Director of Transportation Services Gary Sawyer.
 
“We can talk more openly about what time the bus arrived, we will have details when the amber lights go on, the red lights go on, when the doors open, when the doors close. We will have all of that data available to us,’” he said.
 
Hillsborough County got a similar GPS system 5 years ago. Pinellas has had one even longer.
 
With all that information, parents can get answers much faster and more accurately as to where the bus is and if it’s on time.
 
Did the bus driver miss a stop?
 
And if officials need answers, they don’t need to bother the drivers.
 
“We are not radioing them to say where are you, that becomes a distraction. We can actually look and see where they are on their route,” Sawyer said.
 
The GPS system is just the latest move for the Pasco School district to try and streamline bus travel.
 
There is a call center open the first week of school to answer any travel related questions.
 
And younger students wear wristbands to make sure they are on the right bus.
 
Next year the district plans to add student tracking to the GPS system, where students will have a bar code drivers can swipe.
 
It will give real time information as to which students are on which buses and when and where they got off.
 
August 15th is the first day of school in Pasco County.