With the touch of a screen, parents and children can know exactly when the school bus will round the corner. At least two area school districts are using an app that provides live updates on the status of students' assigned buses.
Bibb County incorporated the My Stop app about three years ago, but less than 2,000 of 12,000 registered bus riders currently use it, said Anthony Jackson, the district's transportation director. The Baldwin County district started offering the app at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, said Byron Wellman, school and community relations coordinator.
My Stop is provided for free by the school district and can be accessed on computers, smart phones and tablets. Look for "Versatrans My Stop" in the app store. From a regular computer, go to bustrans.bcsdk12.net/onscreen/Login.aspx for Bibb County or mybusstop.baldwin.k12.ga.us/onscreen/MyStop/LoginMobile.aspx for Baldwin County. Both the username and password are the student's school identification number.
"We thought it would be a wonderful feature to allow parents to be informed about the status of their child's bus route," Jackson said. "Families that have used it, they've really been appreciative of it."
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The app will only work for students who are registered bus riders with bus assignments, Jackson said. It updates every five seconds during the morning and afternoon routes, showing the bus' current location and scheduled arrival time at the stop.
Working parents who are away from home can see when their children leave in the morning and when they make it back home at the end of the day, Jackson said. In addition, students and parents can track the bus at the same time.
Students are generally asked to get to their stop five minutes before the bus' normal arrival time, but the app can keep them from waiting longer than they need to, especially in inclement weather.
"If the bus is running late, they can delay going out to the stop location. In the event that (the students) are running late, they can look to determine if the bus has already passed their stop," Jackson said.
For questions about the app or student bus information, call Bibb County at 478-779-2000 or Baldwin County at 478-453-4176.