The District has an additional capability in managing its bus routes this year, thanks to the investment by its transportation contractor, Valley Bus Company. Over the summer, Valley Bus installed Global Positioning System (GPS) transmitters in its bus fleet, an infusion of technology that will help the company and the Fargo Public Schools better manage the operation of school buses.
GPS transmitters convey time, location, and other data using satellite communications to a central database so that the vehicles they are installed in can be monitored in real time.
The use of GPS on the buses, which was paid for entirely by the contractor, provides benefits to both parties. Using a Web portal on the Valley Bus computer servers, the contractor and the District’s Transportation Coordinator can now view the location of the school bus fleet in real time.
The system conveys a wealth of data to both parties. For Valley Bus, it allows them to better manage fleet maintenance and fuel costs. For the District, it verifies the times and stops of travel on each route. This data, on more than one occasion, has assisted the Transportation Coordinator in handling matters with parents, bus drivers, administrators, and police that concern the delivery of students to and from buildings.
On an additional note, this is the first school year since 1999 that the District’s bus routes remained static (unchanged) over the summer break.