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School buses will get GPS for the new school year, but will it help parents?

Posted at 6:54 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 17:52:43-04

The New York City Board of Education will meet the deadline to have GPS systems installed in all city school buses by the first day of class, September 5th. But there’s a big “but.”

The city is contracting with the ride share service Via to develop and app that will allow parents to track their children’s buses in real time.

But the app won't be ready for opening day.

The plan is for it be rolled out during the school year, meaning parents will still have to use the old system of contacting the DOE to find out where the buses are.

“We’ll have GPS in every bus on the first day of school," said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. "And 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.”

City Council Member Ben Kallos sponsored the law mandating GPS on the city’s 9,500 school buses by opening day. He told PIX11, “People are going to be able to use an app for via on their phone by the spring to see where the buses are.”

One of Kallos’ constituents, Upper East Side resident Beth Pilchik, has a 7-year-old son with special needs who takes the bus.

“There are companies already that do this around the country,” Pilchik told us. “So, I can’t figure out why they’re trying to develop an appwhen there are apps out there already for schools made for parents to see.”

PIX11 asked the Department of Education for more information to clarify the delay involving the Via app. DOE spokesperson Miranda Barbot did not respond to our questions.