A new system uses iPads and some innovative software to improve safety for children on buses

Image by Pexel

Perhaps you remember taking the bus to school every day and maybe now you wave off your own children every morning but were you ever stuck inside or left behind in that bus?

In recent years there has been a spate of just such cases in Victoria. Children have fallen asleep on their school bus and been locked inside, this appears to be particularly prevalent on buses which transport special needs children to their schools.

In one instance, in 2016 a seven year old boy on his way to Monash Special Developmental School was locked inside a bus on a 31 degree day and was not discovered until the bus was taken out of the depot to do the return school run. Just this year a young girl was locked in a school bus for 5 hours, her
absence causing a desperate police search.

In a bid to ensure the safety of children on school buses the Victorian Education department is installing a new iPad tracking systems in over 440 Victorian school buses. Information, Technology & Management Consulting (ITM) are behind the software and system created to ensure greater awareness and safety.

ITM are a project management company that specialize in providing iPad facilities on buses, including ticketing and booking systems on the V-Line. ITM’s director Bert Post spoke to us about the new school bus system they have created.

The new system uses iPads which are professionally mounted (by sprocket) on the bus to check the students in and out, much like roll call in schools. However the system has a few extra features including a tracking feature which allows parents and teachers to track the buses location and progress, it also allows the bus driver to send alerts in case of emergency or to let parents know the bus is running late. The final feature is a scanner installed at the back of the bus, at the end of each bus run, when it is returned to the depot the bus driver must walk the length of the bus and scan his or her card. This is to ensure no child is accidently left behind. Bus drivers who forget to do this can expect a follow up call or text as a reminder.

Hopefully this initiative will help guard against potentially fatal errors and keep children safe.

  • Liz