GPS tracking to be installed on all New York City school buses for start of school year

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Parents in New York City will be getting some extra help in knowing the whereabouts of their children as they head back to school.

All buses for public schools will have GPS tracking by the first day of class.

The city has teamed up with Via to install the equipment and create an app for real-time tracking of the nearly 10,000 school buses.

Last year, parents complained about a lack of GPS tracking when buses got diverted or delayed, and there were horror stories about kids stuck on buses for hours or dropped off at incorrect locations.

"Through our partnership with Via, we'll soon have a state-of-the-art app for families to track buses and get real-time automatic updates," said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. "We are grateful for the City Council's advocacy, leadership and partnership. Safe and reliable transportation is critical for all families, and we're committed to getting it right this year."

Parents and students will have the ability to track, in real-time, the whereabouts of buses and receive communications in the event of service changes.

For the first few weeks of school last year, tens of thousands of parents in Queens couldn't find their kids or their school buses.

"Not knowing where my kid was, and we have a dog. So we have this GPS tracker meant for our dog," said one of the parents, Andy Chung, who put the GPS tracker in his child's book bag after the kindergartener's school bus kept dropping him off at the wrong stop.

In an Eyewitness News exclusive in September, we showed you bus drivers going the wrong way down one way streets, and dozens of kindergarteners walking 30 minutes to get to class.

In January, the New York City Council approved a measure to install the GPS systems on city school buses.

The move came after the sudden snowstorm in November left buses stranded in traffic for hours, and parents couldn't reach their kids.

The legislation was named STOP, which stands for the Student Transportation Oversight Package. Along with the installation of two-way radio devices and GPS systems on school buses, the city will now be mandated to report bus times, delays and complaints.

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