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NYC's School Bus Tracking System Doesn't Work as Planned–and Parents are Angry

NYC's School Bus Tracking System Doesn't Work as Planned–and Parents are Angry

While parents are supposed to be able to track their kids’ bus routes on an app, parents report certain buses aren’t even showing up to pick kids up from school.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced a Department of Education partnership with Via that would allow New York City parents to track school bus routes through “Via for Schools”, a GPS system and app, in August. All 9,000 buses were supposed to be equipped with GPS navigation by the first day of school–but parents are reporting that these promises have not been kept. CBS2 News has reported that hundreds of parents have complained. Among the most concerned are parents of the city’s students with special needs.

The Department of Education originally promised parents that all school buses would be equipped with GPS technology by the first day of school. The DOE also planned to simplify the flow of information between bus drivers and parents looking for their kids. However, the app wasn’t ready, the app’s website does not show GPS location, and parents who have called the tracker hotline have had to wait an hour to speak to someone.

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“It’s not working. There has not been much communication to the parents about the expectation of when the bus tracking will be working,” Rachel Saar, who has a son with special needs, told CBS2. “Putting your child who is nonverbal, who has seizures, on a bus and not knowing where they are at any given time is very stressful.”

On September 12, the DOE told CBS2 that a GPS was installed in every bus by the first-day-of-school deadline, but some systems weren’t turned on. Officials said that GPS companies would be held accountable, but CBS reports that exactly how remains undetermined. Meanwhile, the DOE’s partnership with Via will apparently not be rolled out for another year.

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