“Can we use BusWhere to track our activity buses?” This is a question that we’ve gotten enough recently that we decided to consider the best way to add this feature to our service.
First of all: What is an activity bus, and how is it different from a route bus? Schools and districts may have a bus or set of buses that they reserve for “activities” — typically sports, music, or other extra-curriculars. Sometimes a regular route bus will play this role as well after hours.
The challenge with activity buses is that they change, sometimes daily. This week the soccer team goes to a neighboring county on Monday and Wednesday, and next week the football team goes to a different county, but on Tuesday and Thursday. There’s a concert Sunday night so the school will send a bus to pick up students and parents from the concert hall and bring them back to the school. These have the following features in common:
- The bus can leave from any location, within some time window but not always the same departure time;
- The bus goes to a single location, at least most of the time
- Some, and possibly all parents are interested in monitoring the bus’s location and return time to the destination
With this in mind, we are pleased to announce support for Activity Routes in BusWhere. When an administrator creates a new route, that route can be marked as an Activity Route. The administrator will set a time window when the bus will be active and a destination which is typically the school, but it could be anywhere.
For example, if the Activity Route is set to go from 6-9pm, the game ends at 6:30, and the bus starts to head back to the school at 6:47, parents at 6:47 will see the bus on their BusWhere for Schools app along with an ETA back at the school, updated in real-time like all BusWhere routes.
Administrators can choose to invite select parents & students to these routes, or they can be opened to anyone using the BusWhere app who is affiliated with the school or district.
Interested in trying it out? Activity Routes are already enabled on all BusWhere accounts at no extra charge. Try it out, and contact email@example.com with any questions or suggestions!