Parents Appreciate the Extra Vigilance
Seattle-based Zonar Systems said today it is providing RFID technology to the school bus industry to answer the iconic 1969-television question, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” The company’s patented ZPass system identifies when and where a student enters or exits the school bus enhancing their safety and security.
According to Zonar’s SVP of Marketing, Bill Brinton, “Safety, security and accountability are fundamental expectations when children ride school buses. The industry record is already stellar. But RFID technology now makes the job easier and gives school bus operators, school officials and parents the peace of mind that comes from knowing where their children are while making their trip to and from school.”
Brinton explained that the ZPass system works without the need for a student to do anything. They are issued a unique RFID card that can be kept anywhere on the person, such as in a backpack, purse or wallet; it need not be visible.
As the student passes the card reader upon entering or exiting the bus, the time, date, and location are logged and transmitted to a secure database. The school system can then access the information from any web browser using a complimentary application, Zonar’s Ground Traffic Control.
ZPass integrates with Zonar’s HD-GPS technology that has already been implemented throughout school districts nationwide. This system captures data in four dimensions including latitude, longitude, time, and speed at every data collection point, giving administrators a clear view of the bus’ path, each stop and start, and even a time, date, and location at which the door is opened. This creates certainty for school officials and parents, as well as accountability for the drivers.
John Harris, Transportation Supervisor for the Quincy, Wash. school system said, “It’s all about the safety of the children entrusted to our care. We are installing it now in our buses and the initial experience has been good. It builds extra confidence and parents like it.”
“Student location is monitored solely when riding school buses. The entire process is secure, no personal information about the student is included on the card, and all personal data is confined to and controlled by the school system.” Mike Martin, Executive Director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the industry’s largest trade group, acknowledged that some have raised concerns about student privacy, but emphasized the privacy safeguards in effect. “Accountability, safety and security are the cornerstones of what we do every school day. ‘We don’t know where a bus is, or where your child is’ are unacceptable answers in our industry, and we know most parents agree.”
Zonar also markets to the school bus industry and others an RFID-based system that verifies the vehicle has been thoroughly inspected before and after every trip. The driver uses a hand-held RFID reader and companion tags placed around and inside the bus to electronically document their observations. The inspection information is uploaded wirelessly and any safety, security, or mechanical problems are addressed promptly.