This pilot launch will involve one school bus, but the long-term goal is that the system will be implemented district-wide.
The Fort Plain CSD will launch a pilot program this month that is intended to enhance safety and improve the efficiency of the district’s school bus management system. Using a software system called Traversa on school buses, the district will be able to track student bus riders and the locations of all buses in real-time mode whenever they are on the road.
“The Fort Plain CSD administration and Board of Education take very seriously our charge to ensure the safety and security of our students,” interim Superintendent of Schools Kathy Dougherty said. “Adding this system to a transportation program that prioritizes extensive driver training and meticulous vehicle maintenance helps our district demonstrate safety as an unquestionable first priority.”
This pilot launch will involve one school bus, but the long-term goal is that the system will be implemented district-wide. Parents of children involved in the first phase of the pilot program were mailed a letter with detailed information. As more buses are included in the program, parents of those students will be notified accordingly.
Under the system, students will each be given a swipe card that is programmed with a student’s name, where they are picked up by the bus and where they are dropped off. Students will use their cards whenever they get on or off a school bus.
The system instantly alerts the driver if a student tries to get off the bus at an unassigned stop. Drivers can also receive messages from the school buildings if any student’s drop-off location changes over the course of the trip. Knowledge of where and when a student boarded or left a bus allows our district to proactively manage student safety and prevent errors such as students boarding the wrong bus.
The system has additional benefits for bus drivers to generate turn-by-turn directions to each stop on their bus routes.
“We are proud to launch a system that enhances our ability to bus our students to and from school in the safest way possible,” Fort Plain Transportation Supervisor Tom Hajczewski said. “The system makes it easier for our bus drivers to keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.”
The swipe cards will be provided at no charge to the students or families. Students must have their cards with them at all times whenever riding the school bus to enable the system to run efficiently. Elementary students’ cards will have clips so they can be attached to their book bags or jackets. It is suggested that high school students keep their cards in their wallets or their purses.
Should the first card become lost or damaged, the district will issue a second card at no cost. If the second card is lost or damaged within a year, there will be a fee of $5 for a third or subsequent card.
If a student forgets their card, they will still be able to ride the bus. Their information will be entered manually into the system by the school bus driver.
What does the swipe card system mean for students?
- Each student gets a swipe card. Students will scan their cards into a card reader whenever they get on or off a school bus.
- Students should bring their cards with them to school every day. It is suggested that elementary students clip their cards to their backpacks or jackets; high school students should carry them in their wallets or purses.
What happens if a student forgets their card?
- If a student forgets their card, they can still ride the school bus. Their information will be entered manually into the system by the school bus driver.
Do I have to pay for my child’s card?
- The swipe cards will be provided at no charge to the students or families.
- Should the first card become lost or damaged, the district will issue a second card at no cost.
- If the second card is lost or damaged within a year, there will be a fee of $5 for a third or subsequent card.
Parents who have questions should call the transportation department at 518-993-4000 ext. #4001.