“PingARing has immensely improved ISD‘s efficiency in bus service, from reliability to billing. The developers of the service are forward thinking and continually integrate new efficiencies into the service, taking many needed person hours away from bus service to focus on other aspects of the school.” – Seth Winnerman, ISD Transport Manager
“We use the PingARing app nearly every day to track progress… That’s how we know if the bus will be early, late, or on time. Since it has been over 20 minutes late a few times, it helps us manage our time better. It also gets me moving faster when it shows an early arrival” – ISD Parent
“I use PingARing all the time. It’s wonderful and really helpful, especially for the PM route” – ISD Parent
The International School of Denver runs a morning and afternoon bus route. ISD provides world class multilingual education for children from kindergarten through middle school, therefore the ridership of its routes spans quite a spectrum of needs. Its bus routes are managed in house and professionally run. Many ISD parents depend on this bus service to help them gain efficiencies in their day. The routes are run in a pay-per-ride model, with fees rolled up onto invoices, which were sent monthly and included with other services like aftercare and club fees. The system has always been quite reliable and run on time most days. However, since Colorado is known for its winter weather, unavoidably there of course were times when delays made the morning a struggle.
Ridership was maintained by the drivers. A simple clipboard with a list of students and columns for days of the week sufficed in the beginning. In the mornings, the driver would check students in on paper as they boarded their stops and in the afternoon an administrator would inform the driver whom to expect. The driver would collect the younger kids and the older kids would make their way to the bus. Parents would inform the front desk when an exception occurred. The driver would tally the total weekly and drop the sheets off with an administrator to be rolled into the monthly charges. The driver spent 15-20 minutes each week adding the numbers up and about three or four hours per month were spent tallying the sheets for invoicing.
In 2015 ISD turned to PingARing to solve to issues. They needed a way to reliably communicate to their parents when delays happened due to traffic or weather without having to distract the driver from his primary concern of safely transporting the students. They also wanted a way to create efficiencies in their ridership tracking and billing processes. PingARing was chosen because of its flexibility and ease of implementation.
Since then at the beginning of each school year routes are updated and rider expectations are entered in to the system via the administration portal. A dash-mounted tablet was deployed for the driver. The application runs on a tablet capable of being used in any of their vehicles eliminating the need for idle devices when a bus is not in service. The PingARing app runs for the duration of the trip with the driver interacting with it only at stops. At each stop the app automatically detects arrival and departure times. While driving, the app shows the time of day and the estimated time at the next stop. A link to directions is available if the driver is unfamiliar with the route.
At the morning pickup stops the driver taps to indicate when they start to load or unload students. A list of usual riders appears and the driver taps their name as they board. They can quickly get a list of all students or add a new student by name or indicate an unknown student boards, which can be rectified later in the office.
Parents follow the trip in a web browser or in the PingARing mobile application by simply entering the code given to them by the school. They see the real-time arrival times and see how traffic or weather might delay the bus. Many calls to the school’s front desk and even the driver have been eliminated. Parents get notifications when delays happen and know their children have safely embarked on their way home in the afternoon or have disembarked at school in the AM.
PingARing has significantly reduced the workload from school staff allowing them more time for other tasks. The driver no longer worries about anything but safely transporting the students. Parents are informed as soon as deviations from schedule happen. PingARing allows safety to remain the focus and communication is handled for the driver.