MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO)-- More than 5,000 District 51 students rely on the big yellow bus to get them to and from school every day. Now parents can now hold their child's safety right in the palm of their hands.
SafeStop is a smartphone app launched by District 51 and Student Transportation of America. It allows parents to track their child’s bus in real-time.
Karen Harris uses the app to track her grandson’s bus every day. One afternoon, she was alerted that her grandson was not going to be home at his usual time.
“It’s nice to know it’s going to be running late, so I don’t have to worry when he isn’t there,” Harris said. “There are certain times where the bus has been late or some disturbances on this bus, so the bus has had to pull over or return due to unruly students."
The process is fairly simple. Anyone can download the free app to their smartphone. Parents need their your child bus route and their student identification number.
District 51 said it was a new technology they knew would benefit both students and parents.
“Right now, we as parents worry about our kids more than ever before,” said Phil Onofrio, the chief operating officer of District 51. “It’s a way to give them peace of mind."
Once parents log in, they can choose their child’s bus route. A map will pop up, showing exactly that bus is at that time.
“It will show you the actual street names and where the bus is and when it actually gets to your stop,” Harris said.
The app goes even further into detail.
At the bottom of the screen, it shows the bus’s expected arrival time. Shane Anderson with Student Transportation of America said it will blink yellow if the bus is running a few minutes late and red if it is over 7 minutes late.
The app will also send any alerts or messages in the case of an emergency or route change.
Officials said it gives parents a bit of a different view than what your child sees on his or her way home.
“It’s huge for our generation with the security aspect,” Anderson explained. “Knowing where our students are, how the bus is maintained, how it is providing its service is important.”
All 122 routes have a bus with this GPS technology.
At last check, STA said nearly 500 families were using the app. However, the school district is pushing more to download it for safety reasons.
For more information you can visit http://www.safestopapp.com/.