With the school year underway in Marion County, the district’s transportation department is looking to improve their communication and day to day operations with concerned parents using their updated phone hotline system.
The system allows for parents to call in a check on their child’s bus route, ask questions when needed and ensure their child’s safety to and from their schools.
School officials say there are about twenty-four thousand bus riders per day in the county, with nearly 276 buses carrying them to their stops.
And each bus has a GPS tracking device on them along with some having cameras that record during their ride.
Rebecca Rora, who is the Director of Support for the department said, “The call center staff has all the information that the parent needs or has someone nearby that can get it to them. We will inform our staff here when buses are running late when they’re being delayed so that they can relay that information back to the parent.”
“And we have to have GPS on our buses so that we can locate them if we lose radio contact. Knowing where they are, how far they are from a stop helps the parent to understand that your child may be home in five minutes because I can see that bus on GPS.”
During the first day of school, the call center received more than fifteen hundred calls since 6 a.m.
And with different district staff members stepping in to help out with some of those calls, the call numbers dropped down to just 550 on Tuesday.
Jeanine Deese who works at the center says being able to bring parents some peace of mind is fulling.
Jeanine Deese said, “I like to use the phrase kill them with kindness because you want them to be comfortable in what you’re helping them with. And this is a situation that they need to be comfortable. They’re putting their child on a big yellow bus for the first time and then need to feel that sense of comfort from us here at the district.”
So as the new school year pushes ahead district transportation wants every parent to know that they’re just one phone call away.