A new tool has been developed to help Quebec parents track their child’s commute to and from school.
mTransport is a system that informs parents in real time of the departure and arrival of their child by school bus. The system, which includes a mobile app, is currently successfully deployed in 45 vehicles was developed by mPhase in partnership with the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) and Videotron.
Using an electronic tablet installed in each vehicle, drivers record the entry and exit of children. At each stop, mTransport provides them with the list and photo of the children and parents download the “mTransport — Parent” app for free and receive a notification on their smartphone when their child gets in or out of the bus and when the vehicle is approaching their stop.
Parents can also be informed when their child has not entered the bus as expected or, conversely, use the app to warn the driver of their child’s absence. In addition, the application offers the driver particular indications, for example when the presence of a parent is required to let a child off. The app provides peace of mind to families and increases the speed of response in the event of a problem.
“mTransport is designed to simplify communication between school, parents, drivers and dispatchers; increase the reliability of school transport and avoid mistakes” said mPhase president Frédéric Laurendeau.
For the board, which tested the system for some time, the new technology improves the efficiency of day-to-day operations, and have instant access to each child’s trajectory and other information through an online dashboard, tracking bus movements and responding more effectively to parent questions, such as when a vehicle is late.
The system is designed to counter exactly the type of situation that many families face each year, when a child is not where they are supposed to be. Earlier this month two children attending Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board schools were dropped off at the wrong stop, and one seven-year-old was left to wander having been shut out of the school without getting on the bus in her new neighbourhood.
“The CSMB is pleased to have contributed to the development of the mTransport system,” said CSMB chair Diane Lamarche-Venne. “Safety is a key issue and this innovation gives parents peace of mind. Our goal for the next few years is to roll out the project more widely to all of our elementary and secondary schools.”
CSMB has the system on routes for some two dozen schools. The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) is also employing the system in a dozen bus routes this year.