As the new school year begins in Southern New England some parents may be feeling a little uneasy about sending their kids off on the bus. But now there’s a new smart phone app that allows them to keep tabs on their little ones while en route to and from school. It's called the ‘SafeStop’ App.
“We have GPS in our buses so it's a live time mobile app. So they'll know where the bus is at all times,” explained Tony Murgo, President of Ocean State Transit.
Barrington and East Providence are the first two communities in Rhode Island to have it available. The service connects parents and school officials with buses in real time, which is putting many local parents at ease.
“There have been times when a bus will be running late in the afternoon and not knowing exactly where that bus is a little nerving. So being able to pull your phone out and just track it right then and there would be pretty convenient,” said Mat Levin of Barrington.
In addition to the bus' location the ‘SafeStop’ app gives an estimated arrival time, and features alerts and messages such as delays or closures. The data is custom tailored to the student and secure.
Ocean State Transit, which provides bus service for the two communities, is making the app available. The company paid for the start up costs, but those who wish to download it would have to pay a $4.99 fee per month. The cost for a single school year is about $50.
Parents outside Barrington Middle School on Wednesday were already downloading the service.
“I know my wife will like it a lot. She's very protective of the girls so I know she'll be using it, and I’ll probably be using it myself,” said Levin.
“I like just knowing and being able to find out where my kids are and knowing if they'll be late so I can be there for them on time,” said Mariam Schaerf of Barrington.
If the program is a success in the first two communities, Ocean State Transit says it could be offered to more school districts in the future.