SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A new app to track school buses in a Springfield Public Schools district might launch next school year.

Transportation Director Rick Koopman told The State Journal-Register that District 186 hopes to test an app from First Student called “First View” in the 2018-19 school year that allows parents to track their child’s bus route in real time.

Koopman said the app also gives parents estimated time of arrival and departure of the buses. It will also send out notifications if the bus is running late because of weather, traffic or any other school-related delays. He said if the pilot program is a success, then use of the app would expand district wide in the 2019-20 school year.

Koopman said the cost of the app for the district will vary on usage. Springfield paid First Student between $10 million and $10.5 million each of the past two fiscal years.

Koopman estimated the District 186 will pay nearly $10.8 million in transportation costs this fiscal year.

Springfield would join a handful of school districts nationwide to use the app. Among those using the app is Glenbrook High Schools District 225 in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

Glenbrook district Assistant Superintendent R.J. Gravel said the app available for free on Apple and Android phones has been well received by both parents and school staff. He said the app cuts down on the length of time students to wait outside in the cold at bus stops.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com