Getting the kids to school is stressful. You wake them up, feed them, make sure they’ve got their 75-pound backpacks. Then you stress about the bus.
Betty Tsang knows the routine well. With 3 children, she spent too much time trying to figure out if the school buses were late — or her kids were, and now needed rides to school.
There had to be a better way, she and her husband Norman thought.
Now there is. The Tsangs created “Where’s Our School Bus?” — a free app for iPhones and Androids.
It’s very clever. Not to mention friendly. And secure.
“Where’s Our School Bus” works through crowdsourcing (the more users, the better). Parents or students tap the app the moment the bus arrives at their stop in the morning or afternoon. The app automatically recalculates ETAs for users further down the route.
Messaging among members allows more detailed sharing of information for “unusual situations” (“New driver — get outside or it will pass!”).
Features include a map view (visually depicting the bus’s location); a schedule view that shows the stops in list order, and automatic alerts, reminding you not to be late to the bus stop.
Privacy is important. So only the bus location is noted, never an individual. All data is encrypted.
Tsang says the app saves time and gas (no more jumping in the car just because you think you’ve missed the bus!), and creates a little community among parents on each route.
There’s more info, and a video — though using it does not require a Ph.D. — at www.wheresourschoolbus.com.
The app has been tested on a limited number basis. This week, the Tsangs opened it up to all Westport buses. (It’s still in beta.)
What a great idea! Now if the Tsangs can just create an app that eliminates those 75-pound backpacks…