Westmoreland Schools bus routes got off to a rocky start this year as a result of complications implementing a new program for bus routing, which Director of Technology Chris Evans takes full responsibility for. Now that students are acclimated to bus routes Evans and Director of Transportation Supervisor Terry Rich will work to revise the routes to make them more efficient and shorter for students. Evans and Rich hope to implement any changes during the November election break. Parents will be well informed ahead of time to any schedule or route changes.
Ubicabus is an new system designed to track students and one of its functions is to help create shorter and more economical bus routes. Westmoreland Schools would like to utilize the program to the fullest which uses GPS tracking however Evans and Rich plan to test out new routes with the human equation before implementing changes.
Evans said this is his 7th year helping with bus routes.
He said the program they were using previously was so out dated that new developments or neighborhoods were not showing up on the map. It became difficult to update bus routes. Evans said he would go in each year and update all the data, move students up to the next grade level and add any pre-k or kindergarten students by early July which gave Rich time create routes. “It was a hand drawn system,” Evans said. “A lot of work for him, a lot of work for me.”
Evans said currently all students have been assigned bus routes and students are successfully being transported to and from school each day however routes at this time mirror last year’s routes without the advantages embedded in the Ubicabus system.
“The biggest issue we ran into was time,” Evans said. “We had decided the best way to do this process was to wait until we had done new year rollovers and adding all the pre-K and kindergarten students into power school. That is the system we use for student information. Before we exported all the students out of power school we thought it would be a good idea to wait until all that was ready. Hindsight is 20/20.”