Corsicana's new bus app will track students in transit

Posted at 10:34 AM, Dec 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-22 11:34:50-05

We hear all too often of children getting left in hot cars, buses, day car vans or getting forgotten altogether.

Now, technology has begun to offer ways to keep that from happening.

At least one Central Texas school district recently invested in a system to keep track of students on the move.

Kimberly Berry, a mother of two, says her biggest worry of the day comes when her oldest daughter rides the bus home from school.

"Until I see her every day... I know that the bus should drop her between 4:02 - 4:08 p.m. Until that time, and when 4:08 p.m. gets here, I'm pacing wanting to know where she is," Berry said.

Soon, she'll worry no more.

Leaders at Corsicana ISD will soon install a tracking system on all its school buses, called "Smart Tag," to track student transportation.

"We've never lost a kid, but there are sometimes it takes us a little longer to know for sure that we got the right kid home to the right location,” said Jason Ketchum, Transportation Director of Corsicana ISD.

He says it should eliminate the issue of lost children, or students accidentally left on a bus.

Here's how the system works: Every student has a card that they swipe, every time they get off the bus.

Then, "Smart Tag" provides real-time tracking.

"Parents can look and track their children so they can have an alert so they'll know within ten minutes their child will be delivered to their home,” said Dr. Diane Frost, Corsicana ISD Superintendent.

Dr. Frost calls "Smart Tag" an easy sell to the school board, even though it comes with a $54,000 price tag to start, and about $10,000 more every year to subscribe.

Kimberly Berry calls it a small price to pay for parent sanity.

"I think it will help my peace of mind knowing where she is on that route from Bowie to campus,” said Berry.

She says the trip from Bowie Elementary to her home can take as little as 10 minutes, or more than 30.

Soon, she plans to know her daughter's travels, every step of the way.

School leaders say "Smart Tag" also has a messaging feature, that will tell parents when the bus will arrive to pick them up, so they don't have to stand out in the cold.

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