The Hall County School District has released a new smartphone application that allows families in the district to track their child's school bus and receive alerts when it is running late or early.
According to Clay Hobbs, transportation director for the school district, Hall County parents or students who use the MySTOP app can view a map of the bus route and the current location of the bus on that route. The app will also display the estimated time of arrival for the bus.
"In addition to that, it gives us the ability to send messages to the parents or the students that only ride that one bus," Hobbs said. "What we've had to do in the past is send out a message to an entire school if one bus is affected, and so we no longer have to do that."
Hobbs said the notification system built into the app can also come in handy in the case of a bus substitution. He said parents will receive a notification through the app letting them know about the substitution in the case of a mechanical problem or another issue with a school bus.
While Hobbs said he has known about the application for quite some time, it has not been possible to implement until recently.
"First off, you have to have routing software, and we have had and used routing software called Versatrans for two decades," Hobbs said. "The second thing that was needed was GPS information, and we have just recently, earlier in the year, added the equipment necessary for GPS location."
Moving forward, Hobbs said the big challenge is getting parents and their students signed up on the MySTOP app. Edgar Flores, transportation system administrator with the school district, said 550 families were signed up for the app as of Nov. 19, 2021.
"We're hoping that our community and the parents of our boys and girls of our county are able to take advantage of this application," Flores said.
Flores believes the MySTOP app is a big innovation for parents of a child in the Hall County School District.
"This was a long time coming, and we're very happy that we were involved in this project," Flores said. "We feel confident that the parents will benefit greatly."
More information about the MySTOP app is available on the Hall County School District website.