When using the ShuttleID platform for school bus passes, each time a passenger boards and scans their mobile or printed pass, an email notification is automatically sent to the parent’s phone, with details of which service was boarded, the time the child boarded and an option to directly live track the vehicle. The feature was offered to existing ShuttleID customers in the 2022/23 academic year and is now being offered to all users of the platform for free.
ShuttleID says it worked with parents to uncover useful insights during the development, and that initial findings suggested that not all parents require such a feature. However the parents that do want the feature highly value it, the firm says, adding that 100% of all parents surveyed who opted to use the feature plan to continue usage in September.
Feedback from parents also indicated that whilst safeguarding was the primary benefit, parents also found value by being able to plan when to pick up their child from the bus stop or when to expect them home, which is complimented by the live vehicle tracking feature, the company said.
The company said it also found that despite increased usage of personal tracking apps by parents, designed to help track their children 24/7, such apps are not foolproof. Surveyed parents reported that data allowance, lack of battery or signal often hampered their own ability to safely track their child all of the time. In contrast, the boarding notifications delivered by ShuttleID provided valuable and accurate reassurance whilst their child used the bus, they said.
Bullocks Coaches was the first transport operator to use the safeguarding feature. Director Ian Bullock said that the feature has gone down well with parents. “Safeguarding is such a big deal now that as soon as we upgraded our ShuttleID system to live tracking and live boarding data, I asked if this could be available to parents,” he explained. “The response was positive and as usual ShuttleID have delivered. We did a trial with existing parents and feedback was really positive.
“Feedback from new starters in September has been extremely positive too. Some pupils will not have travelled on a bus before and the combination of live tracking and boarding notifications will go a long way to allay parental apprehension about their children travelling on a bus without them.”
ShuttleID director Chris Bell added: “Helping reassure worried parents about the safety of their child travelling on a school bus not only boosts an operator’s safeguarding credentials but it has the potential to increase bus usage and revenue. With boarding notifications now bundled in for free on all packages, there’s little reason why an operator would not want to benefit from this safety feature.”
“As the initial setup to issue or sell passes only takes 24 hours, there is still plenty of time to take advantage of this offer ahead of September.”