The Paw Print

District 202 rolls out bus tracking app

James Dralle, Associate Editor

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On Apr. 23, District 202 released an app for parents to track their children’s school buses in real time. The app follows a year of work involving the district’s transportation and technology departments and District 202’s general education transportation contractor.
In the past, when buses were running late, parents or legal guardians had to call the transportation department or specific bus company to find when the designated bus would arrive. The app helps eliminate the struggle of middle-man forms of communication.
Although a late April press release by Tom Hernandez, the Director of Communications, mentioned The FirstView app “shut down” due to several concerns regarding the method of accessing student bus route information, it has since been fixed.
District 202 has been in the midst of several major transportation logistical challenges due to the district’s overwhelming size, multiple grade-level train intersections, and the integration of a triple tier schedule.
The triple tier schedule was invented during the recession as an attempt to save money. This system reduced transportation cost by a million dollars but left little time for “inevitable delays”.
With modern day technology constantly growing, the district decided to put First View into motion.
The app will list an approximate time when the bus will arrive. Specific data bases have been created for each bus route and a corresponding list of riders. The data bases are updated nightly.
“It’s another way for parents to keep track of where their students may be, based off their location of the bus,” Principal Bob Yanello said. “I think it’s a good thing.”
Some of the benefits from FirstView include live tracking of your child’s bus, predictive stop arrival times, customer and technical support, caregiving alerts, messaging, and even integrating Spanish and French languages. The FirstView app uses up to date GPS systems that can pinpoint where the student is and give continuous updates of the student’s whereabouts.
Josfran Otero, senior, feels the app isn’t necessary for high school levels, but a necessity for middle school education and lower.
“Since younger kids are new to the world, they need a sense of guidance and level of comfort,” Ontero said. “With parents knowing where the buses are, they know where there children are and know they’re safe.”
Hernandez mentioned in a late April follow up press release that The FirstView app shut down for a short amount of time. However, he included that the app is currently up and working, and clarified “rumored” causes of why the app was shut down momentarily.
“There was never a ‘security breach’ or mass “exposure” of private student data at any time,” Hernandez said. ” No other student data is in the system, and therefore was never (and will never be) publicly posted.”
In order to create an account, parents must visit, or download the FirstView app on the app store. Parents must enter their student’s school ID number and their new pin number, which is found in the Home Access Center.
The FirstView app is available on the Apple app store and Google Play.

The FirstView app offers many unique capabilities such as live tracking, immediate user feedback, additional user notifications, and custom alerts.

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The student news site of Plainfield South High School
District 202 rolls out bus tracking app