Bishop said the service not only lets the district see where buses are, it also automates payroll for drivers, make routes more efficient to save fuel, allows parents to see when a bus is coming and helps with bus security.
The system would cost
The projected savings in fuel and payroll management costs would be
That comes to
The system contracted with Edulog, which has been doing this kind of work since 1977, according to the company's website, but their system relied on Nextel phones.
The Nextel network shut down in June after its 2005 merger with Sprint.
"That project failed," said
Synovia's service would allow ABSS's transportation department to see when buses are on time, where they are in case of emergency, if drivers are being safe and to schedule with less bookkeeping and when they are idling unnecessarily and burning fuel.
Thorpe said bus drivers in the system are clocking in and out in different ways at different schools, causing an expensive accounting headache.
Also, ABSS does not know where any bus is at any given time without getting the driver on the phone or radio.
Parents would also be able to see on a computer or smart phone when a bus would arrive, Bishop said.
"Everybody I've talked to is impressed with the system," Smith said. "They like the way it works."
The system's up-front costs should be minimal. Bishop said Synovia used to sell the equipment and software as a package, but that big charge at the beginning killed too many deals as school budgets got tighter. So Synovia went with a subscription service. The cost will be ongoing, but include maintenance and training.
Smith said ABSS is still working on a contract to bring back to the board.
Bishop said it would take a couple of months to install all the devices, train ABSS employees and set up the system once the contract is signed.
Rose asked for information on using the service on other fleet vehicles like ABSS cars as well. Bishop said Synovia had that service, and cars are cheaper to monitor than buses.
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