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Monticello Central School District adopts new tracking technology for bus-riders

Jan. 11, 2016

A miscommunication between parents ends up with a student getting off at the wrong bus stop. When the bus arrives, the student does not disembark. Mom calls the school in a panic, wondering where her son is.

Beginning in February, officials at Monticello Central School District will be able to tell a worried parent within seconds exactly what bus the student is on or where he or she disembarked. The district has partnered with Zonar, a Seattle, Washington-based transportation technology company and will be using the company’s state-of-the-art tracking equipment, called Z Pass.
According to the Zonar website, Z Pass is a technology that improves the safety and efficiency of student transportation by providing instant information to district officials about student riders.

As Z Pass is implemented, students will receive an identification card which they will scan each time they get on and off the bus. Every time the card is scanned, the exact location is marked on a map and time-stamped. The information is transmitted to a secure database, enabling district officials to have access to real-time information to each student using district transportation. The card is only associated with a unique identification number, so students’ personal information is never captured or stored by the software.

“I believe Z Pass will be an incredibly valuable tool to help improve our emergency response,” MCSD Director of Transportation Helen Herbert said. “Seconds matter when you’re dealing with an emergency situation and this system will help us make decisions about re-routing buses, making unplanned stops and locating passengers as quickly as possible. If there ever is an accident, we will know immediately which students are still on the bus, and will have their parent or guardian’s contact information at our fingertips.”

MCSD’s department of transportation will begin implementing Z Pass on select district buses in February. The district will track the implementation of the system over a 45 day period, make any necessary adjustments and then bring the next phase of students to the Z Pass system.  Students and their families will be notified and provided with additional details as their buses become equipped with Z Pass.

“The district’s number one priority is always the safety of our students, whether they’re within the school walls or on a district bus,” Catherine Addor, Assistant Superintendent for School Administration, said. “We’re constantly seeking the most innovative ways to keep our students safe, and I’m confident that the Z-Pass system will prove to be a tremendous asset.”

For frequently asked questions about Z Pass, please click here.