New Bill to Require GPS Tracking on All New York City School Buses

11 Feb 2019

In a bill designed to give peace of mind to parents, the New York City Council approved a measure to install GPS systems on all New York City school buses by September 2019. This allows parents to track the progress of school buses transporting their children via apps.

The inspiration for the bill was an incident in November 2018 that left children stranded on school buses for hours during a snowstorm while frantic parents were unable to reach their children.

One study, reported on CBS Local involved a disable three-year old stuck on a bus from 2:00 in the afternoon until well after midnight with no access to food, bathrooms, or communication for his worried parents.

The legislation that makes this possible is called STOP, which stands for Student Transportation Oversight Package. In addition to GPS fleet tracking systems on school buses, STOP calls for the installation of two-way radios on buses as well, adding two-dimensional comfort to parents and school administrators.

Of course, the November event is only one part of the story that has the New York City school bus system under fire amid complaints of students stuck on buses for hours, dropped off at incorrect locations, and more. The new legislation mandates to report bus times, complaints made against buses, and any delays that may cause buses to drop students off late.

The idea of improving communications for bus drivers is nothing new for New York City where, then-councilman Michael Nelson introduced legislation requiring two-way radio communication to be installed on buses nearly 20 years ago.

Today, GPS tracking technology has evolved to the point that it is much easier for schools to manage and has been managed successfully in school districts across the country, including Boston, Denver, and Houston.

Many parents are on board for the idea that provides them with peace of mind and the ability to track their child’s location. The ability for drivers to communicate problems with the school districts via two-way radios for school buses adds another dimension of comfort and safety to the process and even allows parents to get news of delays, when they occur, so they aren’t entertaining worst-case-scenarios in their minds as they wait and worry about the health, well-being, and locations of their children.

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