Bussing children to school can be a harrowing experience for both, parents and bus operators. For parents, having their kids whisked away by another party is naturally a cause for worry, and they need to be able to trust the school bus operators that their kids will be delivered to school safely and on time. Likewise, school bus operators need to convince parents of the safety of their buses.
Now, a new app aims to promote trust by letting both operators and parents keep track of their children’s location during the ride to school. Founded by concerned parent Henry Low, BusBuzz was started because of his experiences involving his son. “I created BusBuzz out of my own personal experience when I had two occasions when my son was found missing,” Low said.
“The first was that he didn’t come home after school; in the end, the school staff found him in the garden together with another classmate, with the bus operator neglecting to wait nor to inform us at all,” he continued, “The second was that when he took the bus back when he was supposed to attend a swimming lesson, due to slight drizzle. My wife panicked when she went to school and could not find him at the pool; in this case, the bus operator should have let us know that my son took the bus even though he wasn’t supposed to be there.”
Through BusBuzz, Low hopes to reduce and hopefully eliminate the miscommunication between parents and the bus operators, addressing the issue of child safety. How BusBuzz achieves Low’s goal is that it acts as a bridge between parents and operators, facilitating information exchange and reducing the risk that children would be lost.
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For bus operators, BusBuzz features the BusBuzz Connect app, which lets them take attendance conveniently, provide updated information on children’s bus ride activity, and lets them alert parents when any child is not at a pickup location. All these contribute to reduced waiting and cuts down on the time wasted on calling up parents to confirm attendance.
For parents, BusBuzz gives them peace of mind by informing them immediately when their child boards the bus, and providing them notiﬁcation alerts when their child is not at the designated pickup location for any reason. In addition, parents can use the app to send messages to the bus operator to inform of their children’s change of schedule.
Since its official launch in March 2014, BusBuzz has expanded its offering, now being available in English, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, as well as Thai. Around four bus operators in Singapore have signed up for the free app, and Low noted that they do not have any plans for monetisation, being built to address safety issues for children taking school buses.
That said, Low revealed that BusBuzz will be introducing a new attendance-taking system that lets students tap on the bus operators’ smartphones using their student cards, making the process more convenient for bus operators.