Twenty Four School Bus GPS Tracking Systems with pros and cons:
- BusPlanner by Georef
- Travel Tracker
- Here Comes the Bus
- TripSpark Education
- School Bus Tracker
- Track School Bus
- Durham Bus Tracker
- Trace School Bus
- Applane Real-Time Bus Tracking System
- ADCC Smart School Bus Tracking
- Versatrans My Stop
More than a year and a half passed since the original version of this list came out and, in the meantime, a couple (well, a bit more than a couple) new and interesting players have entered the market so we picked the best ones and expanded our list a bit.
There are six solutions in total that made their way to the list so without further ado, let us begin.
Parents are concerned about their children's location
As a parent, wouldn't you like to know where the school bus is that you and your child are waiting for?
Wouldn't it be great if you were able to see your child's bus on a map, know if it is running late, get an ETA estimate of its arrival, get notifications if it is behind schedule, and get alerted in case of emergency?
How about even being able to see that your child is confirmed to be on the bus so you know they are safe and en route as expected?
With today's quickly developing systems these features and many more are giving parents and school administrators more peace of mind, control and efficiency in the critical effort of transporting children safely to and from school.
Let's explore the top 23 school bus tracking systems and applications and see what they each have to offer:
What is School Bus GPS Tracking?
With specialized trackers parents can always know where their kids are, are they safe, and are they in school. In addition to GPS tracker devices and apps for kids there are also specialized services capable of providing real-time tracking of school buses. Instead of giving the information just to parents, these apps and services help school administrators keep track of their students and bus companies can use them to improve their safety and to provide better service.
First, there are companies providing school bus fleets for schools. They are responsible for the safety of the buses and for keeping their fleet operational. They can install GPS trackers on each bus they own and track them in order to know where their buses are, which routes they take, how much fuel they consume (and by optimizing routes cut down fuel costs), as well as monitor drivers.
Parents can call bus dispatchers and get detailed info regarding arrival times, but fleet tracking solutions cannot provide real-time coverage for parents and school officials. This is where specialized school bus location sharing services enter the formula.
If a school bus fleet is equipped with GPS devices, school districts can purchase different School Bus location sharing apps and services. They work by connecting with GPS devices installed inside vehicles in order to provide real-time GPS tracking, as well as other benefits. Most of the solutions provide email and push notifications, mobile apps for parents to know when the bus will arrive, as well as options to track students as they enter and leave the bus via RFID and barcode readers. Also, all services provide tools for tracking buses via computer, and both computer and mobile apps can show the location of buses on maps in real time.
This is important
So, let us go through the most important parts again. There are services offering GPS fleet tracking for school buses and there are platforms providing specialized software for School Bus location sharing. While GPS fleet tracking services can also provide tracking services for school and parents, there are specialized platforms that offer location sharing services with many additional features.
Specialized school bus tracking platforms can only work if the bus vendor has equipped their buses with GPS trackers. School districts are the ones who can purchase location sharing plans, not individual parents. Most of the school bus location-sharing platforms offer real-time monitoring, mobile apps for the parents to know where the buses are, their departure and arrival times, as well as email and push notifications. Since there are more and more school bus location sharing services out there we decided to gather as many as we could, present their offerings, and show pros and cons for each of them. Stay with us and find out how your child can be safer with school bus location sharing apps and services.
Loqqat is a safety focused school bus tracking solution combined with mobile application available in both Android and iOS.
Loqqat will obtain real-time data regarding the whereabouts of the children and let parents and school know exactly where their children are and when they will arrive home or school with automated notifications when bus nearing the boarding point, when child gets picked, dropped or is marked absent. It gives the school and its transport team an edge to design optimal routes, auto-generate trips and assign them to buses in the predefined time window.
Transport team will get notified in case of any hold ups by buses as Loqqat lets the drivers to open up a communication channel with them. The team can notify parents in case of emergencies and can broadcast announcements to drivers when required. An intuitive dashboard is included for administrators to track live status of trips. The system comes with a robust stay-back and early leaving management.
Child's boarding and dropping is confirmed by the flashing of a smart card and parents get immediate notifications. Notifications are also sent in the events like bus starting, bus nearing, pickup, drop, stay-back and absent. Accurate ETA is shown to parents from the trip start time so the parents can plan ahead and save time.
Loqqat comes in two packages
There are two packages offered by Loqqat:
- The complete package (powerful web interface for school transport team, Android app for bus attendant, native android app and native iOS app for parents)
- The basic package (only for schools with comprehensive web interface and Android app for bus attendant. It can be later extended to parents too)
How it works
Loqqat uses enterprise Google map api services for precision of location and accuracy of time.
Intelligent route management, automated trip generations, efficient adhoc trip management, live monitoring, message broadcasting, multiple school management from the same application instance, best in class user experience are few attributes which gives an edge to Loqqat over some of the other applications available in the market.
Devices are easily switchable between buses/routes on the approval by transport team which ensures zero tracking downtime even if the assigned bus is replaced due to breakdown or repairs.
Parents can track two or more kids in the same application regardless of them being in different school or geographical location. They can request for location change by picking the right pickup/drop points from map in the app.
- Complete application suite to address both schools and parent's needs
- Smart cards equipped with NFC to ensure flawless attendance marking
- Well-designed application to handle all exceptions in everyday trips
- Optimized applications for low data consumption
- Reduced or no manual intervention once initial data setup is done
- Simple and user-friendly app for bus attendants which can be operated by novice users
- Communication channel between school transport desk, drivers, conductors and parents
- Thoughtful design by considering all exceptions like exams, stay backs, early leaving
- Glide through experience for school transport team in the web application
- User intuitive and neatly crafted mobile applications for parents
- Modules not available in Loqqat for live video streaming of kids
- Bus fuel level alerts, rash cornering alerts are not available
- More than 60 days old data will be available to parents only by requesting to technical support
BusHive is an all-around solution that provides bus tracking software for independent bus contractors, school districts, and motorcoach companies meaning that the software isn’t limited to school bus GPS tracking.
BusHive’s school bus software for bus contractors
The main part of the system is of course busHive’s school bus software for bus contractors that comes with a plethora of features designed to make life easier for operators and drivers.
The software comes with driver check-in that manages drivers and their route assignments, it includes a smart dispatching platform allowing operators to quickly find which drivers are assigned to which routes and the quoting feature is perfect for contractors who work with lots of clients because it allows them to “send out quotes by calculating pre-trip time and mileage.”
The software also includes lots of features that automatize administration, providing tools that operators and administrative staff will simply love. IFTA and financial reporting, contractor payroll software, accounting system integrations, driver itineraries, and school bus contract software make life easier and administrative work a straightforward experience that is completely automatized and moved into the digital world. No more papers, everything can be done electronically with busHive.
The field trip software
The second part of the system is the field trip software made for school districts.
It automatizes planning and workflow and provides school districts with a user-friendly platform that comes with simple tools designed for school transportation administrators. Online field trip requests and field trip history make field trip planning a breeze.
Dispatching calendar, color-coordinated scheduling software, driver check-in, and route and field trip coverage allow administrators to be in the know about every single route along with drivers assigned to each route while allowing them to supervise routes and busses in real-time. And district invoicing and payroll management tools are here to make payroll and invoicing a headache-free work.
The bus software for motorcoach operators
And finally, busHive comes with charter bus software for motorcoach operators, going beyond the school bus tracking market.
The charter bus software is more about automatizing payrolls, financial reports, accounting, and IFTA management than about tracking buses and drivers but it comes with some nice features like driver itineraries, charter confirmations, and powerful scheduling tools.
We like the fact that busHive provides separate software for school bus contractors, school districts and even motorcoach operators and each software package comes with lots of tools that automatize accounting and financial operations.
We don’t like the fact that school-related solutions aren’t made available for parents (there aren’t mobile apps and no clients for parents to track their children) and for the lack of advanced GPS tracking features like smart cards or RFID badges for students.
- The solution encompasses both school bus contractors and regular motorcoach operators
- Plenty of features that turn administrative work into a breeze
- No advanced GPS tracking features
- busHive is targeted at companies and schools, not toward parents
- No RFID, Bluetooth, or smart cards for students
- No mobile app available
BussBoss is an incredibly powerful school bus GPS tracking solution that includes four main software packages, each of them supporting a certain number of features called BussBoss Enhancements.
BussBoss Professional is the main product that includes most of the features. It comes with tools made for optimizing school transportation expenses, administrative tools, route data capturing, and a plethora of integrations. Some of the integrations are a web app made for school staff and parents to get bus and route information, a field trip management program, routing software, GPS tracking for buses and students, and more.
BussBoss Express is a bare-bones version of the platform that comes with a limited number of features, and BussBoss Enterprise is Professional with added benefit of additional GPS tracking functions such as route creation and optimization, driver monitoring, route deviation alerts, social network notification (Facebook and Twitter posts notifying parents and students when busses are running late), and more.
And finally, BussBoss SaaS is a subscription-based cloud platform that comes with all benefits of BussBoss Professional but without the need of setting up and maintaining local transportation management system.
Three main features
The three main features offered on BussBoss platform are the option of installing any third-party GPS hardware along with TripPatrol and StudentPatrol GPS tracking systems.
TRIPpatrol GPS tracking system allows for real-time GPS tracking of every vehicle in school fleet as well as driver monitoring and route deviation alerts. StudentPatrol GPS tracking includes RFID cards issued to students enabling real-time tracking, route deviation alerts sent to parents and school staff, ridership tracking, and more.
All that with one fully integrated bus management database that supports both bus routing and tracking.
Additional benefits include many third-party software and services integration such as Apollo business intelligence portal and decision-making project, Geotab fleet optimization platform, CApWords transportation consulting services, SafeStop school bus tracking app, eSchoolData student data management system, and more.
We are impressed with the number of features, the fact that BussBoss provides integrated routing and tracking solutions, the implementation of cloud platform that can greatly cut costs of setting up local bus fleet management system, three different product tiers, and the ability to use third-party GPS tracking hardware.
Also, BussBoss has an excellent website that provides all the info you need. The disadvantages could be the lack of a mobile app (but the presence of a web client that works on any device is a huge plus), and the fact that advanced GPS tracking features are included only in the Enterprise package.
- Huge number of features
- Three different product tiers
- Both bus and student tracking solutions
- Web client that works on any device with a web browser
- Social network alerts are great for students and parents
- The ability for schools to use third-party GPS tracking hardware
- Large number of third-party software integrations
- The existence of a cloud-based solution
- Lack of a mobile app
- Advanced GPS tracking features available only in Enterprise package
BusPlanner is another comprehensive platform that offers both routing and GPS tracking software, available as separate products.
The core offer is BusPlanner Pro software solution that comes with transportation network management tools for school administrators, and route optimization features that should make bus routes more efficient at the same time saving money for schools.
BusPlanner GPS is the add-on for Pro solution that covers real-time bus tracking, real-time route monitoring, and more.
The platform comes with SaaS offer, eliminating the need for setting up local management and GPS tracking system and Web portal is there for parents to be informed about bus routes, bus arrivals, and any late arrivals. The platform also offers mobile apps allowing managers and administrators to access routes, vehicles, and student information, monitor drivers, and more.
BussPlanner suite offers much more, with tools specialized for administrative tasks (BussPlanner Workflow), field trip solution for simple field trip scheduling and coordination, BusPlanner Fleet for managing your school bus fleet with its own separate web portal, BusPlanner Districts for setting up district boundaries allowing boundary optimization and school capacity analysis, and BusPlanner Finance for all accounting related tasks.
The two add-ons we really like are BusPlanner PM, a web tool for tracking and managing bus drivers that supports two-way communication between drivers and administrators and BusPlanner Virtual Planner made for outsourcing all transportation-related tasks to Georef staff.
With Virtual Planner you let Georef monitor your school bus network allowing with creating, maintaining, and optimizing routes, notifying parents about arrival delays, and much more.
Overall, BusPlanner is an excellent integrated solution that encompasses everything a school might need when it comes to monitoring and maintaining their bus fleet as well as tracking their vehicles in real time and providing parents with a source of information about bus arrivals.
It’s a shame BusPlanner doesn’t offer a way for tracking students and a mobile app for parents and students to use but on the other hand, the inclusion of the cloud solution and outsourcing platform along with the presence of administrative and accounting tools is a bonus.
- Plenty of different tools available
- Real-time GPS tracking with a web portal for parents
- A plethora of added benefits like administrative and accounting tools
- Driver monitoring software with two-way communication
- Presence of cloud-based service
- Outsourcing route and bus management could be great for smaller schools that cannot afford the transportation department
- Lack of a mobile app for parents and students
- No ability to track students with RFID cards
Travel Tracker is a specialized platform for automatic planning and monitoring of school trips and while it isn’t a school bus tracking software per se it can greatly simplify the whole process of organizing and carrying out school trips.
The software allows teachers to submit trip requests in minutes and administrators to review and discuss requests with teachers who submitted them. Principals and school administrators can use automatic trip cost estimator in order to review transport costs, and approving trips.
Further, the software provides tools for monitoring field trips by enabling school staff and to access trip info like the list of students taking the trip and the whole communication is automatized with everyone on the school board having access to trip-related information.
Automatic board reports allow for all trips to be monitored by administrators and for them to communicate with teachers who are with students during trips. Travel Tracker is completely browser-based and extremely easy to use.
- Excellent solution for organizing and managing school trips
- Every part of the system is cloud-based, allowing for easy access by everyone involved
- The software isn’t a school bus GPS tracking system
- No option for parents to access field trip details, or to communicate with teachers who are with students
Edulog is yet another comprehensive solution that comes with routing and planning software along with school bus GPS tracking platform.
The suite includes a wide variety of products meant for GPS tracking, route creation and planning, route monitoring and managing, cloud services, web portals for parents and more.
Two main elements
Two main elements of the platform are school bus routing and planning and GPS tracking software.
Routing and planning incorporate automation, safety, route optimization, flexibility, and optimization. Transportation administrators can track entire school transportation system, they are able to set hazard zones (busy streets, dangerous areas, etc.) on each route, can create optimized routes based on student location, and much more.
GPS tracking system on the other hand offers real-time GPS tracking, integration with tracking and planning software, student ridership based on RFID cards with plenty of options such as specific alerts (student missing a bus, riding the wrong bus, and more), student database, real-time passenger information, and integration with GPS tracking platform.
Other features included in Edulog GPS tracking platform include driver time and attendance tracking via tablets installed in every bus, and variety of choice when it comes to the selection of GPS tracking hardware.
Other notable parts of the Edulog suite include a web portal for parents enabling them to know when their child enters and leave the bus, when it enters custom hazard zones, and know about any delays via push notifications. And the company also offers two versions of the mobile app for parents – full and lite.
Consulting services provide route and transportation optimization, various analysis, operational assessment and much more. Edulog also offers cloud-based service in four tiers providing excellent freedom of choice for schools. Each school can select hosted solution perfect for its unique needs.
Edulog tracking and route planning platform comes with an almost impossible number of features, all being completely integrated, and we have to say that we simply cannot find any faults with this platform. Everything a school or a school district needs is included, and the platform is fully customizable allowing schools to pick products they need and want and ignore the rest of the offering.
- Astounding number of features
- All products are fully integrated
- Excellent GPS tracking solution with student tracking features
- Web portal for parents filled with options along with two versions of the mobile app
- Subscription based cloud service divided into four tiers
- Completely customizable
RouteABus is a solution focusing on providing tools for creating, maintaining, optimizing, and monitoring school bus routes.
While not a classic GPS tracking solution RouteABus provides excellent features for schools that don’t require real-time GPS tracking. Aside from its main offering, RouteABus comes with a handy, web-based bus stop locator which can be a great way for parents to find and select the bus stop nearest to their home and to check pickup and drop off times for each stop on the map.
The tool comes with the ability to find out exact address of each bus stop and a street view of each bus station.
School districts may be interested in redistricting tools designed for drawing attendance areas, creating district areas, and rearranging school districts. The product also comes with student population projection tool, redistricting impact analysis, it supports student databases, and it allows the creation of district maps.
If your school or a school district needs a route planning solution or a tool capable of optimizing districts and creating new districts, RouteABus is a great choice.
- Powerful route creation and management tools
- Excellent web-based bus stop locator
- Redistricting tools capable of optimizing school transportation
- Not a GPS tracking solution
BusWhere is a tracking system built around ease of use and quick setup, using smart route detection to automatically track buses even as they are swapped out or move between routes. It can be used in addition to existing systems and does not require any specific routing program.
BusWhere offers parents detailed info regarding buses and routes, all of which is available to see on an interactive map. Parents are informed via notifications once the bus is getting near their stop, and they can get an up-to-the-minute ETA for when the bus will get to their stop. There are mobile apps available, but parents can also use a web portal for access.
Many parents report frustration with other tracking systems that don't work because the regular bus is out for maintenance or a different bus is running their route on that day. Maintaining a system like this adds work and headaches for transportation staff. BusWhere has solved this problem using their patented Auto-Detect technology, allowing any bus to run any route. This means no daily maintenance for the schools and a more robust and reliable service for parents.
School administrators gain access to a Fleet Map with detailed information about each bus, including fuel levels, current speed/location, and which route is currently being run. A messaging system is also provided so administrators can send notifications to parents about weather delays, lost & found, etc. Interactive drag & drop logs mean friendly access to precise route history for any day, to answer questions from parents about where the bus and how fast it was going at any time for any day routes were running. Logs can also be exported for easy offline analysis.
The BusWhere system is a snap to set up and configure, with buses running and alerts being sent with less than an hour of setup time. Trackers are plug & play using the maintenance port on the bus, tucked out of the way and without any rewiring requirements. For older buses BusWhere provides portable trackers that can connect to the cigarette adapter or to a battery. Pricing is tiered based on the number of buses in the school or district.
Finally, BusWhere supports a School Bus Eligibility Portal that lets parents find out for themselves if they are eligible for bus service. This portal is set to prevent a flood of inbound calls from parents in the first week of school and schools benefit with an ease to their workflow.
BusWhere offers a free trial using actual hardware so schools can easily run a pilot to try before purchasing. The quick setup and ease of use make BusWhere an easy product to try and one that proves itself quickly.
- In addition to school districts, BusWhere can be used by single schools.
- Smart Route Detection allows any bus to run any route, improving reliability and reducing workload for school staff.
- Configuration is very easy for school districts.
- Trackers do not require electrical installation or any additional responsibilities for the driver.
Let us start with Treker, a “real-time communication platform for school administrators, bus drivers and parents.”
The platform provides detailed info for parents, school administrators, and bus drivers. Each group has a different tool to monitor students and buses. Parents can know when the bus will arrive at their house, can know whether their child is on a bus and when they enter and exit the bus, and receive push notifications regarding departing and arrival times.
School administrators have their own Administrator Portal inside where they can see the location of each bus in their school fleet and see all stops on the map. Inside the portal, administrators can send real-time alerts to parents, and can also configure automatic real-time reporting.
Drivers are equipped with a tablet showing all bus stops on the map. They have student manifests and can know if a student gets off at the wrong stop, and with just one push of the button, they can notify both parents and administrators.
And finally, parents can download and use a mobile app that lets them know when the bus arrives. They can also receive personalized notifications, as well as notifications telling them when their child gets on and off the bus. The map inside the app shows a real-time location of the bus their child is on.
Treker offers a proprietary Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon for students to carry so their parents, as well as administrators and drivers, can know when a student enters and exits the bus.
Also, Treker provides high security. All information transmitted from and to the Treker beacon is encrypted, preventing any kind of unauthorized access.
Overall, Treker is a solid school bus location sharing solution. It provides different tools to parents, school administrators, and drivers, which is excellent. Drivers can know if a student misses their stop, parents can know arrival and departure times, can be informed when their child enters and exits the bus, and are notified if the bus is late or if the case the child misses its bus stop. And administrators can monitor the whole bus fleet, and be notified if something happens.
- Easy to use.
- Students are provided with Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, which are low-energy and can automatically detect when a student enters and exits the bus.
- The platform provides tools for parents, school administrators, and drivers so they all can monitor school bus location in real-time and know if a student doesn’t enter the bus, or exits at the wrong stop.
- It seems parents cannot use their app on a PC, just on mobile devices.
Here Comes the Bus is probably the most popular school bus location sharing platform. When you type “school bus location sharing” or “school bus GPS tracking” into Google search, Here Comes The Bus will be the first result, always.
The platform has subscription plans. The first one is called Here Comes the Bus and provides parents with real-time location of the child’s bus to parents, as well as scheduled and actual arrival times at home and school. The platform is based around two main offerings: Here Comes the Bus (Basic), and Student Ridership (student tracking software).
The first one enables parents to see the real-time location of their child’s bus on a map, it notifies them about bus’ arrival and departure times, along with providing push and email alerts in case the bus runs late, it is near the stop, or if it has been substituted. Parents can use the website or a mobile app.
The second choice, Student Ridership, is a student tracking software tracking whether the student made it on and off the bus, as well as at which stop they entered or exited the bus. Aside from providing info for the parents, the software can also be used by school administrators. This is done either by RFID readers, or barcode readers, as well as via MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) developed by Synovia Solution, makers of the platform. Students scan their ID cards while boarding and exiting, and the GPS device can pinpoint the location, notifying the school and parents if the student took off the bus at the wrong stop.
Of course, school districts can choose both options. Here Comes The Bus is very popular and it provides lots of features. The problem is that, if a school district wants to track students, they have to buy both options.
- Very Popular Solution.
- Parents can use the site or a mobile app.
- Lots of Features.
- In order to use the complete offer, school districts have to buy both packages.
TripSpark Education has more than 30 years of experience in school transportation. K-12 School Bus Transportation Software is one pretty capable school bus location sharing solution. According to developers, the platform is the first choice of more than 50 percent of the largest school districts in North America, and it is currently used to track more than 2 million students along with 50,000 buses.
The K-12 platform provides calendar-based scheduling and routing (in order to improve efficiency), GPS tracking of each bus in the fleet, along with real-time student location monitoring while they are commuting via RFID tracking cards, and bus driver management.
The software can take into account if a student is sick, or on vacation, and can suspend the service for the specific duration so the parents and administrators don’t get alerted without reason, and it can also track drivers to ensure they are following pre-planned routes. K-12 also ensures that students with special needs are safe and sound, by ensuring routes they take are optimized in order to them to spend the least time on the bus.
The software is available both to parents and school staff, but the solution doesn’t provide mobile apps because we couldn’t find any, on the App Store or the Play Store. This can be problematic, especially because parents usually don’t have access to a computer during mornings when they are usually on their way to work. Overall, the K-12 looks like a powerful bus location sharing solution, but the lack of mobile apps is really a deal breaker.
- Lots of features.
- Used by many school districts.
- Professional solution both for bus companies and schools.
- Mobile app.
UbicaBus is one very interesting school bus location sharing platform because it offers some unusual and original features. First off, we have to give developers credit for the site; it is very easy to navigate, and in just a few clicks both parents and school administrators can check out what UbicaBus has to offer.
The solution offers both mobile apps and the website for parents to track buses, and it also provides administrators with a set of powerful tools so they can track and monitor every link in the chain. Also, UbicaBus thought of students too, giving them some interesting features.
Parents can tracks buses in real-time, and will be alerted for approaching buses, drop-offs, but also for school announcements, which is pretty cool. They can look at routes and will be notified via push notifications in case of emergency. Parents can even track student attendance, and if they have more than one student, they can track each one from their parent account.
As for school administrators, they are offered a ton of features. Real-time school bus GPS tracking, route planner for optimizing routes based on optimal capacity, time and distance. Other features include attendance tracking, timesheets (for tracking driver hours), and video surveillance since each bus can be equipped with up to 8 cameras.
As for the students, each school bus can be fitted with a Wi-Fi router so they can use the internet while commuting. This feature can be extremely important for students, and we must say we were pleasantly surprised. Today, kids are online 24/7 and having a free Wi-Fi in a school bus will get them pretty excited, they won’t hate riding the school bus anymore, for sure.
There are a couple of issues here. First, the offering is divided into basic tracking, and ridership tracking via smart cards or barcodes. So, you have to buy the whole package in order to have access to more advanced features. Also, according to reviews featured on app stores, it seems the mobile app has some issues. Overall, UbicaBus is an interesting school bus location sharing solution that stands out from the pack by offering Wi-Fi access inside buses as well as video surveillance.
- Unique features (Wi-Fi and video surveillance).
- Excellently designed website.
- Parents can track their children via mobile app or on the website.
- School Administrators have lots of tools available in order to fully monitor buses, students, and drivers.
- The offer is divided into two subscription packs.
- Mobile app has issues.
School Bus Tracker is a school bus location sharing solution providing a solid number of features.
The main feature is providing real-time GPS location of school buses, both to parents and administrators. The mobile app can be downloaded for smartphones and tablets, and parents can track buses via the web interface, from their computers.
Parents can be notified about delays, and schools can send direct messages and push notifications directly to the parents' apps, basically making the app one handy tool to send parents messages about their children’s grades, behavior, and to let them know if the child caused troubles at school.
One nice feature is allowing parents to request a change of route or change the hour of arrival of the bus for their child from inside the parent app. Once sent, the message will be shown to a school administrator who can reply immediately.
School Bus Tracker is proud about the security of all parent and student data. The data is securely stored within the CMS by the School Administrator. Also, there’s an app for drivers so they can know about routes, and about any possible request submitted by parents. So, if a parent notifies the school that their child is sick and won’t be attending, the driver can receive notification and change the route while driving.
The solution is solid, it provides lots of features, and the only downside is the fact that School Bus Tracker doesn’t provide attendance monitoring, like most other platforms presented here, at least for parents. School administrators can track attendance via students’ NFC tags.
- Solid number of features.
- Mobile app.
- Lots of interesting features available for parents.
- Parents are unavailable to monitor attendance.
Track School Bus is a school bus tracking solution bringing a solid number of functions and features at a price that’s lower than competitors.
The platform is not only built for teachers and school administrators but also for transport managers, who can use it to optimize their bus fleet, and always be in the know about every bus in their fleet. The app offers mobile apps for parents, drivers, fleet managers, and school administrators.
Parents can track attendance, view routes, know real-time location of the bus their child is in, and receive push notifications for attendance (so they know the child boarded and exited the bus), unscheduled stops, speeding, and more. Aside from the mobile app, parents can track their child via a web portal.
Further, parents have increased control because they can contact school authorities as well as drivers via the mobile app to let them know if their child is on leave, or just to check if the driver is keeping their child safe. Also, parents can change the current pick-up point at any time and the app will notify the driver immediately. We like the fact that parents have lots of control and can send notifications to bus drivers and school authorities, something that we haven’t found in lots of other platforms.
As for the school administrators, they can communicate with drivers and parents at all times, can send a notification to parents if a child missed boarding the bus, or departs at a wrong stop.
Administrators can plan trips along with drivers and can optimize pick-up points in order for the drivers to spend less time in picking up students. Also, they have access to a passenger manifest containing lots of info such as pick up details for every student, a list of students present in every bus, a route diagram showing all stops, and more.
As for the drivers, the platform allows them to monitor the speed of the bus, view details about the trip route, passenger list, pick up and drop points for each bus trip, attendance details, and they can play audio (like school announcements) by connecting the app to the bus audio system.
Drivers also can communicate with parents, receive push notifications, communicate with managers, and optimize pickup points in order to save fuel and shorten routes. Finally, a video surveillance system can be installed inside drivers' cabs in order for drivers to monitor children without leaving their booths.
As for transport managers, the platform allows them to monitor the entire bus fleet, plan trips, communicate with drivers, track each bus in the fleet, and organize routes. They are notified if a vehicle is not tracked, and can receive notifications about traffic congestion and accidents along existing routes in order to change them if the situation requires.
Track School Bus offers GPS+RFID trackers so parents can know where their children are at all times, not just while children are aboard their buses.
Track School Bus looks promising. The solution offers integrated communication between parents, administrators, and drivers and is capable of tracking children even when they aren’t on the bus and has interesting features like video surveillance as well as a fleet manager app. Overall, it is an excellent school bus tracking platform that can suit any school.
- Incredible number of features.
- Apps for parents, administrators, fleet managers, and drivers.
- Integration of GPS and RFID into one device in order for parents to know where their children are even when not on the bus.
- The sheer number of features can be a bit confusing and overwhelming for both parents and school authorities.
With Durham Bus Tracker, parents and school administrators can track buses, monitor routes, track children entering and exiting the school bus, and more.
The platform is used in more than 400 school districts, there are more than 16,000 vehicles in which Durham Bus Tracker is used, and more than one million students are transported in buses using the solution.
Durham Bus Tracker allows parents to see real-time bus locations, as well as the expected arrival at their stop. The system can send parents push notifications in case the bus is running late, and each parent has their own personal list of buses and routes their child uses.
Durham Bus Tracker gives the parents a safe solution that comes with a standard set of features. There’s no option for attendance monitoring, but the platform does come with mobile apps and a web portal for parents.
- A solid number of features.
- Durham Bus Tracker is quite popular.
- No attendance monitoring.
- Not a lot of info available on the website.
Trace School Bus is another bus location sharing solution offering a wide array of features to parents and school administrators.
It comes with a web school portal, a parent app, and an app for drivers.
Web portal for schools allows for detailed route monitoring, communication with parents, a master control panel to manage routes and buses, and a system for sending push notifications to parents in case of emergency.
Parents can view real-time bus locations, and they can know when a bus will arrive at their stop.
The driver app is there to give drivers route directions and to give them a way to communicate with administrators.
Trace School Bus' website doesn’t give much further details about the platform, and we didn’t see attendance support.
- Different apps for parents, school administrators, and drivers.
- No attendance monitoring feature.
Applane’s Real-Time Bus Tracking System comes with an excellent number of features.
Parents app is very powerful, giving them real-time bus location, time of arrival of the bus, and it also gives an option to drop the child to the next bus stop in case they don’t manage to drop the child at the usual bus stop.
RFID integration allows parents to track attendance, and the mobile app comes with a push notification system informing parents about delays, and eventual route changes.
Administrators can monitor and optimize routes, they can track routes even on mobile devices, and can use CCTV integration to keep a bird’s eye view on students and bus drivers.
In the case of speed limit violations, vehicle breakdown, or some other emergency situation administrators will receive an automated notification allowing them to send different push notifications to parents.
School administrators can also see reports of timings, routes and driving patterns for each bus, and they can also build new routes.
CCTV integration and attendance tracking are the main points of the Applane’s Real-Time Bus Tracking System, and another interesting feature is the possibility for administrators to monitor an entire bus fleet from a mobile device.
- RFID integration allows attendance monitoring.
- CCTV system allows administrators to keep an eye on students and drivers.
- Administrators can monitor routes from a mobile device.
- We didn’t find any major drawbacks.
ADCC Smart Bus School Tracking comes with real-time location features, it has apps for parents and drivers, and it offers lots of other features.
Parents are allowed to see the route of the bus their child is in, to see bus and driver details, and they are notified about start and end time of the each trip. Other info includes speed of the vehicle, as well as push notifications.
The vehicle monitoring system used by administrators allows for automated alerts in case of speed violations, real-time locations of the entire bus fleet, and route planning on an interactive map. The app is web based, and there’s no mobile version.
Finally, the mobile app for drivers gives them alerts for speeding, allows them to set the start and end time for each trip. They can also receive turn-by-turn navigation for each route and can capture live pictures in case of student misbehavior and send them directly to administrators.
- Driver app is very powerful.
- Parents can know details about each driver.
- No attendance monitoring feature.
MyBusVue is another school bus tracking platform, and it offers a usual collection of features.
It comes with an interactive map showing real-time bus locations along with the routes. Parents are notified about bus status (will it arrive on time or will it be late) as well as ETA. They can also follow multiple buses and stops, in case they have more than one student.
MyBusVue is a secure platform and for a parent to register they have to enter school access code, and during the login, parents have a secure two-factor email authentication. MyBusVue’s Z-Pass rider scans (student cards which can track them entering and exiting the bus) can record when and where a child gets on and off the bus. The platform comes with a mobile app, but there’s also the option for parents to track their child and buses via the web portal. Also, MyBusVue can send automated state and federal reports in case of accidents or emergency.
As for school administrators, MyBusVue gives them access to a spectrum of tools allowing them to monitor buses, routes, and students; and make necessary route optimizations.
MyBusVue looks like a solid bus tracking platform, but its offering doesn’t really bring something new and/or unique to the table.
- Mobile app for parents.
- Increased security.
- Platform doesn’t offer anything unique.
- Website doesn’t show an in-depth presentation of available features for parents and school representatives.
Transfinder offers a couple of services that together provide a wide selection of bus tracking features.
The Routefinder Pro is a school bus routing software for fleet managers. With it, managers can manage all of their fleet’s routes, perform advanced route analysis, optimize routes, and increase efficiencies and make optimizations.
Infofinder le and Infofinder mobile are apps that further empower fleet managers and bus administrators. With the two apps, managers and administrators have lots of options at their disposal.
The problem for Transfinder is the fact it is a school and transportation company focused solution providing lots of advanced features. Parents are not included, so they don’t have their own app, and the route monitoring and bus tracking is reserved for school staff. The solution is a solid choice for schools, but if a school wants to include parents and enable them to track their children, it should go with some other choice from this list.
- Advanced analytics tools for fleet managers and school staff.
- Three different apps that together build a powerful bus tracking system.
- The solution is targeted towards schools and transportation companies not towards parents.
Seon and its vMax® Compass School Bus Routing platform give school administrators a fully web-based solution that offers web-based routing along with tracking. With it, administrators can manage routes, build new ones, and maintain the efficiency of existing routes.
The interactive map is ESRI-based and with the vMax Compass, it offers student as well as bus tracking in real-time. Administrators can see passenger lists for each bus and can build new routes in 2 simple steps.
Further, school staff can construct response scenarios that can be activated in an emergency, sending push notifications to parents.
Parents are equipped with a web portal to monitor their child’s bus route, available bus stops, and pick-up and drop-off times. There isn’t an option for attendance monitoring and the platform doesn’t come with mobile apps.
Drivers can use turn-by-turn directions for their routes, and they can communicate with administrators at all times.
The solution offers a solid number of features, but it doesn’t come with a mobile app and is completely web-based. Seon also offers School Bus Camera Systems that can work with the company’s vMax® Compass School Bus Routing platform so drivers can monitor students and identify any form of misbehavior among students. They can notify administrators who then can look at video recordings and solve all issues.
- Web-based platform.
- Lots of tools for school administrators.
- School bus camera systems are included.
- No mobile apps.
- There’s no attendance tracking feature.
Versatrans My Stop gives parents and school districts a set of powerful tools in order to manage school buses and keep track of their children.
The app gives parents a usual set of features. The can know where the bus is, when will it arrive at the stop along with its exact location. Location of all buses is updated every five seconds making it real-time.
The app is available for mobile devices, and parents can also use it on their computers via the web portal.
School administrators can communicate with parents, but their main tool is School Bus Routing and District Planning Software, With it, the staff can monitor routes, plan and build new ones, as well as giving them tools for optimizing existing bus routes.
The platform is available in two flavors – the standard package comes with all features, and the limited also offers 24/7 technical support.
My Stop and School Bus Routing and District Planning Software come with a solid number of features but they do not offer attendance tracking.
- Powerful School Bus Routing and District Planning Software available for administrators.
- No attendance tracking option.
- The platform is divided; it doesn’t offer a unified bus tracking solution.
- The platform comes in two subscription packages.
SafeStop is another platform for tracking school buses, but their online presentation seems to be improving, so we can’t really can go in depth when talking about their services.
Generally, SafeStop provides the usual array of features for a school bus location sharing platform. Real-time school bus updates are shown both to parents and administrators, notifications informing parents about any delays, and the ability for drivers to send real-time service notifications to parents are the core of SafeStop’s offering.
The platform gives access to advanced analytics to Administrators and transportation staff, which they can use to optimize bus routes and to create a more efficient transportation system.
SafeStop offers a mobile app, but we can’t say if the solution comes with attendance recording.
- Gives access to advanced analytics for administrators and transportation staff.
- Comes with a mobile app for parents.
- Website poorly describes available services.
- The platform doesn’t include attendance recording.
RollCall is a school bus management system that provides parents and schools with the exact time and child’s location. With NFC, software and hardware technology RollCall can be called as a complete school bus management system all over Australia and New Zealand.
Rollcall combines the latest hardware and software technology to ensure everything is recorded in real time. Instant notifications to parents, instant status changes for schools. This is software that provides instant answers and does away with the concept of “refreshing’ screens.
Using NFC technology it has been able to harness commonly used school card media, saving schools the outlay of new technology and working with established eco systems.
RollCall gives visibility in realtime to the bus journey, it holds those in charge of the bus accountable. It makes school staff aware of exceptions to the journeys that students are taking. These can be acted on and the route brought back so it conforms to the rules.
In today’s litigious world the people who are charged with the responsibility of looking after students are very aware of their duty of care. This can be managed easily while the students are in the school yard and classroom. However, it becomes very challenging when they board a bus and head out beyond the school boundary. For this important reason schools have installed Rollcall.
How it works
Students tap on and off a smart device fitted at the entrance of the school bus. The students tap on using NFC smart cards or tokens. The latter often attached to the school bag ready to be used each trip.
The bus driver has the transaction confirmed and the students transaction updates the parent with a notification, changes their status on their bus tracking app and updates the school software in real time.
The feature “Rich System” has functionality built in it to prevent students boarding the wrong bus in the afternoons or getting off at the wrong stop. These are just two of many safety features built into the system.
The system also enables full zone charging for stops and online payments for parents.
- Tracking in real time;
- Beneficial for students, parents and schools;
- Emergency alerts;
- Suitable for excursions.
- Can shine a light on poor practices and force the school to confront them;
- Can be a challenge to get entrenched staff to jump on board;
- No free version of the app
Last but not least is our own solution, Turtler, which will have some very unique features making it a compelling choice for many schools, universities and similar environments. As great as it will be when launched, however, it will still not be able to compete directly with every above application and system - some of which are highly specialized and more appropriate for some requirements.
Turtler will excel in use cases where:
- GPS tracking devices are already not installed in vehicles.
- The school district prefers no hardware purchases to help lower costs.
- Doesn't require tracking of each individual child (attendance tracking) but focuses rather on the buses. (This is ok within Turtler because the parent and child can still share locations privately between each other)
- The school district would like to have bus maps appear on their own websites.
- The school district would also like to take advantage of Turtler's other available services.
- Turtler's highest levels of personal data security, encryption, privacy and non-storage are appreciated.
School bus tracking systems are a critical helpful application of GPS, RFID, telecom, mobile app, and internet technologies which are can come together to help make a safer world for our children. As long as strict security and privacy concerns are considered these systems can be a helpful addition to our ecosystems.